en Inglés 1

 

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News in English until 11th September, 2015

For more recent news, go to: https://vivabachajon.wordpress.com/en-ingles-2/

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The Young Indigenous From Bachajón, Who Allege Torture During Their Detention, are Free

Juan Vázquez Guzmán

By Aldabi Olvera

Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), were released on Tuesday 18th August from Cereso 12 in Yajalón, Chiapas, in compliance with amparo 1456/2014 in which it is recognized that their rights were violated when they were arrested.

The three young Tseltales from Bachajón (none over 24 years old) were captured in the early morning of September 16, 2014. The same police officers who arrested the youths asserted that the youths attempted to murder them [the police], which was never proved.

In the resolution of the amparo, of which Más de 131 obtained a copy, we read that the agents did not fulfil “their obligation” to put the detainees immediately under ministerial authority, as required by the law, but presented them 9 hours later.

“Especially since the complainants argue that the Municipal Police of Chilon, Chiapas, inflicted acts of torture on them in order to incriminate them” says the text of the resolution issued in the First District Court of Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz.

And it continues:

“It did not pass unnoticed by the undersigned that in the ministerial procedure of September 16, 2014, the investigating prosecutor gave evidence of the injuries to the physical integrity of the accused”.

This reporter visited the three indigenous a few days after they were arrested. During a talk that lasted two hours, they gave their testimony in Tseltal. Their faces showed severe bumps and scrapes.

As Más de 131 has documented on several occasions, the Tseltal indigenous adherents to the Sixth fear that, in the area around the waterfalls of Agua Azul, which are adjacent to their territory, a tourist resort complex is being set up which will gradually displace them. Since they began their struggle, the adherents to the Sixth have suffered the murders of two of their spokespeople: Juan Vázquez Guzmán (2012) and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano (2013).

The adherents still have three other prisoners:  Esteban Gómez Jiménez, Santiago Moreno Pérez and Emilio Jiménez Gómez.

In the communiqué, the Tseltales also condemn the release of Carmelino Rodríguez Jiménez and Javier López Rodríguez, belonging to the CIOAC-H and imprisoned for the murder of the Zapatista votán José Luis Solís, “Galeano”, in 2014.

@Aldabi

http://masde131.com/2015/08/libres-jovenes-indigenas-de-bachajon-que-denunciaron-tortura-durante-su-detencion/

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Communiqué From San Sebastián Bachajón 19th August 2015

Three Tseltal indigenous, Juan Antonio Gomez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gomez Hernandez, political prisoners from San Sebastian Bachajón, are released following an amparo recognising their illegal detention and torture.

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FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJÓN, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 19th AUGUST 2015

To the Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee – General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world

The compañeros political prisoners of San Sebastian Bachajon, Juan Antonio Gomez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gomez Hernandez, prisoners in (Cereso # 12) Yajalón Chiapas, were released from prison on Tuesday, August 18th of this year in compliance with an amparo recognising the illegal detention and torture of our compañeros; likewise we demand freedom for the others imprisoned unjustly, Esteban Gomez Jimenez, prisoner in Cintalapa de Figueroa (Amate # 14), and Santiago Moreno Perez and Emilio Jimenez Gomez, prisoners in Playas de Catazajá, Chiapas (Cereso # 17) and the freedom of other prisoners in Mexico and the world.

Immediate freedom for the unjustly imprisoned defenders of the water from the Yaqui tribe, Mario Luna and Fernando Jimenez, and in general for all the political prisoners in the country.

We hold the bad government, and the state and federal forces responsible for recent developments in the community of Santa Maria Ostula. Last July 19th federal forces entered the community of Santa Maria, opening fire and shooting to kill at unarmed civilians, killing a child, Edilberto Reyes Garcia, 12 years of age. Prior to this act of homicide, they arrested compañero Cemei Zepeda Verdia, who was appointed by his community as first general commander of Santa Maria Ostula.

We denounce those who are responsible for the release of two of the intellectual authors of the murder of the teacher and compañero Galeano; the self-proclaimed “judge” Victor Manuel Zepeda López, of the criminal court in Comitán de Domínguez, Chiapas, declared that Mr. Carmelino Rodríguez Jiménez and Mr. Javier López Rodríguez are innocent, despite that fact that they and their accomplices in the CIOAC-Histórica know that they are guilty of organizing the crime.

Compañeros and compañeras, we want to say to the indigenous Otomí community of San Francisco Xochicuautla, municipality of Lerma in the state of Mexico, that you are not alone because we are attentive to your struggle, it enrages us how the accursed government wants to take away your lands with violence and repression just like they want to take away our lands in San Sebastian Bachajón, we ask the compañeros and compañeras from   Mexico and the world that, according to their times and ways of being, they raise their voices for San Francisco Xochicuautla in these important moments in the struggle for the defence of their land and sacred sites, which the bad government wants to destroy in order to build highways without considering nature.

Justice for the compañeros and compañeras killed for defending freedom, peace and life.

From the northern zone of the state of Chiapas, Mexico, we send an embrace and combative greetings from the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón.

Never again a Mexico without us

Land and Freedom

Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No dispossession of indigenous territories!

Immediate presentation of the disappeared compañeros from Ayotzinapa!

Long live the dignified struggle of our compañeros y compañeras from the ejido Tila!

JUSTICE FOR AYOTZINAPA, ACTEAL, ABC, ATENCO!

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Chiapas “The Other Prisoners.”

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Chiapas, Mexico, 14th July. “They imprisoned me for organising myself and for defending the mother earth,” reiterates the indigenous Tseltal Esteban Gómez Jiménez, far from the limelight now occupied by the escape of the “most wanted” drug trafficker in the world. The imprisonment of Esteban and his compañeros from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón is evidence of the methods that are valued by officials from the three levels, to “boost the tourism-based economy in the jungle area of ​​Chiapas,” at the cost of dispossessing the indigenous peoples, as the ““Grupo de Trabajo No Estamos todos” (GTNET), dedicated to the support of political prisoners, has been denouncing.

“I have been a prisoner since 2012, I am accused of assault and the possession of weapons and murder, I was detained at a village called PAMALÁ, where I was chopping firewood and I was moved to cereso no. 17 in Playas de Catazaja, where I spent one year eight months, then I was moved to cereso no. 14 “EL AMATE” in Cintalapa de Figueroa, Chiapas,” said Gómez Jiménez, in whose ejido, adherent to the Sexta, are situated the touristic Agua Azul Waterfalls, where there are plans to build hotels costing more than 10 thousand pesos a night.

In March 2008, GTNET explains, the companies Norton Consulting Inc. and EDSA Construction, following the Mesoamerican Project (PPP,) presented the proposal to “boost the economy based on tourism in the jungle area of ​​Chiapas.” The study aimed to develop a strategic plan that identifies the areas and projects which can improve what is on offer to tourists, with “More and more visitors spending” in what will be the Integrally Planned Centre – Agua Azul Waterfalls (CIP-CAA).

The first stage of CIP-CAA will be developing a hotel chain to manage the “Lodge/retreat” concept and make the Agua Azul waterfalls one of “the most special resort experiences that exist in the Western Hemisphere,” operating four concepts of hotels/resorts in which the most luxurious chains in global tourism will invest: World Class Boutique Hotel, Lodge/retreat – near the Agua Azul waterfalls, European style five-star hotel, and resort with hotel, conference and Golf centre, adds GTNET.

The operators being considered for investment are: Luxury Collection, Orient Express, and Aman, who all operate a room rate of $300 to $1000 a night (3800-10800 pesos). The outstanding European hotels include Sonesta, Barcelo, Sol Melia, and Kempinsky. For hotel, conference and Golf centre: Camino Real, Posadas, Park, Royal, Marriott, Hyatt and Westin.

“I am innocent, I call on you to help me gain my freedom. I call on national and international solidarity for my release, they imprisoned me for organising myself and for defending the mother earth,” emphasizes Esteban in his latest communiqué on 13th July.

http://www.pozol.org/?p=10970

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Communiqué From San Sebastián Bachajón In Solidarity With San Francisco Xochicuautla

FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJÓN, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 12th JULY 2015

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To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To the collectives and committees of solidarity at a national and international level

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world

Compañeros and compañeras, we express our solidarity with the indigenous Otomí community of San Francisco Xochicuautla, municipality of Lerma in the State of Mexico, which is fighting in defence of Mother Earth threatened by the bad government of Enrique Peña Nieto, where a few days ago a decree was published for the expropriation of 37 hectares of land to build a highway in the State of Mexico for the benefit of their friend the businessman Cantu Hinojosa, regardless of the destruction of mother nature, the trees, the water, and the sacred sites of our compañeros and compañeras.

We want to say to the community of San Francisco Xochicuautla that you are not alone, compañeros and compañeras, because we are watching your struggle, it makes us angry that the bloody government wants to take away their land with violence and repression, for they also wants to take away our land of San Sebastián Bachajón.

We ask the compañeros and compañeras of Mexico and the world that in their times and ways they raise their voices for San Francisco Xochicuautla in these important moments in the struggle for the defence of their territories and sacred sites.

We demand the liberation of our prisoners in Yajalón JUAN ANTONIO GOMEZ SILVANO, MARIO AGUILAR SILVANO and ROBERTO GOMEZ HERNANDEZ; prisoners in Playas de Catazajá SANTIAGO MORENO PERES, EMILIO JIMENES GOMEZ; prisoner in Amate ESTEBAN GOMEZ JIMENEZ.

From the northern zone of the state of Chiapas, Mexico, we send an embrace and combative greetings from the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón.

Never again a Mexico without us

Land and Freedom

Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Antonio Vivar Diaz lives

NO dispossession of indigenous territories!

Immediate presentation of the disappeared compañeros from Ayotzinapa!

Long live the dignified struggle of our Chol compañeros y compañeras from the ejido Tila!

JUSTICE FOR AYOTZINAPA, ACTEAL, ABC, ATENCO!

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Judge Recognises That There Are Reasons To Consider Torture By Municipal Police Of Prisoners From San Sebastian Bachajón, Chiapas

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Desinformémonos

July 10. On 16th September, 2014, municipal police arrested Juan Antonio Gómez, Mario Aguilar and Roberto Gómez, who they tortured and held for nine hours or so before handing them over to the Public Ministry in Ocosingo, where the graduate Rodolfo Gómez Gutiérrez put a gun to, and a bag over, the head of Mario Aguilar Silvano.

Read Constitutional Judgment [1]

A judge has granted an amparo [order for legal protection] in favour of Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández from the community of San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas, who have been held in prison in Yajalón since September 2014. “The judgement of amparo recognized that for nine hours the indigenous were deprived of their liberty and warns that there are elements to consider and that the torture must be investigated. The criminal judge must issue a new writ of constitutional term, which defines whether they are free or the subject of criminal proceedings,” informed the defence lawyer Ricardo Lagunes.

The Bachajón ejidatarios stated at the time that the imprisonment of their compañeros was the result of retaliation from the municipal police and judicial authorities for the imprisonment of a member of the Ocosingo municipal police accused of involvement in the murder of Juan Gómez Silvano, brother of one of the prisoners.

On 16th September, 2014, municipal police arrested Juan Antonio Gómez, Mario Aguilar and Roberto Gómez, who they tortured and held for nine hours or so before handing them over to the Public Ministry in Ocosingo, where the graduate Rodolfo Gómez Gutiérrez put a gun to, and a bag over, the head of Mario Aguilar Silvano.

After the arrest, explained Lagunes, the three indigenous appeared before a judge charged with causing injuries. The judge set bail of one million pesos for the three to be granted freedom, when the same charges normally result in bail of 10 thousand pesos.

“The judge of Ocosingo reclassified the crime of causing injuries as attempted murder and they were no longer entitled to bail. The case was reclassified with the same evidence as for injuries and without better arguments, and sets aside the medical evidence of torture,” said the lawyer Lagunes.

For the lawyer, the charges against the indigenous from Bachajón were constructed by the municipal police of Chilón, because they acted as judge and jury in the case. “We hope that the resolution by the criminal judge is settled before September, for they will then have been a year in detention; we are now waiting to see whether or not the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) imposes an appeal against the amparo.”

The judge who issued the amparo advised the criminal judge to consider that the detention was made in conditions which violated human rights and that they should exclude all the evidence that has been obtained through torture.

“It is an amparo which will probably lead to the freedom of Juan Gomez, Mario Aguilar and Roberto Gomez because apart from the indications by the municipal police, there is no other evidence against them,” said Ricardo Lagunes in an interview with Desinformémonos.

If the MPF does not present an appeal for review, the judge from Yajalón should immediately redefine the legal status of the three indigenous, and the effect of the amparo would be more immediate and there would not be a second stage to prolong the criminal process and prevent modification, explained Lagunes.

For the lawyer defending the three inhabitants of San Sebastian Bachajón, the entire criminal process has been flawed from the beginning, the charge is sustained by torture and unilateral accusations, and the resort to amparo was the only real and effective way to defend them. “To face a criminal trial in circumstances of disadvantage and the violation of human rights, is to validate and legitimize the actions of the police.”

Now the prosecution can see that the detention has been prolonged and in violation of human rights, it should give them their freedom, said the lawyer Ricardo Lagunes, even more so if evidence of torture was presented. “Given the conflict in Bachajón and its political work, they do not hesitate to continue the proceedings despite independent evidence.”

The court in Ocosingo has not formalized any investigation into the case of torture, therefore the lawyer Lagunes filed a criminal complaint with the prosecutors, for public servants in Tuxtla Gutierrez to investigate, against the commander of the Municipal Police of Chilón because he was aware of what happened, against the staff of the public ministry that made the preliminary investigation, and against the police officers involved in the torture.

On 21st December last, ejidatarios from San Sebastian Bachajón recuperated the lands that were dispossessed from them in 2011, as well as the toll booth on the road to the Agua Azul waterfalls. The Ejido, one of the largest in Mexico, is of 70 thousand hectares, in an area of ​​great biodiversity and natural beauty. The land is rich in natural resources, green rainforest, wildlife and water. The spectacular waterfalls of Agua Azul, famous for their turquoise colour in certain seasons, cascade in the nearby municipality of Tumbalá, but, in order to access the Ecotourism Centre there, it is necessary to cross the Bachajón ejido.

Article printed from Desinformémonos: http://desinformemonos.org.mx

URL to article: http://desinformemonos.org.mx/2015/07/73035/

[1] Read Constitutional Judgment: http://sise.cjf.gob.mx/SVP/word1.aspx?arch=372/03720000160035500041032.docx_1&sec=ROSA_ELENA_MOLINA_COELLO&svp=1

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Bachajón Communiqué From Palenque, With The Parents Of The Disappeared From Ayotzinapa

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FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJÓN, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 18th JUNE 2015

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To the collectives and committees of solidarity at a national and international level

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world

Compañeros and compañeras, today we walk in Palenque, Chiapas alongside the brave and dignified mothers and fathers of the compañeros forcibly disappeared from Ayotzinapa by this narco government which has hijacked the country and with its military and police only wants to govern the country to trample over us as if our lives were worth nothing.

The institutions of the bad government are rotten to their roots and there is no way to defend our right through the law of bad government, so we work for the autonomy of our peoples and obey the people so they can have a decent life, we organize ourselves so we can address the needs of the peoples; even though the government wants to see us without money and in poverty we continue to build our autonomy, we denouncing the machinations of the bad government and the crimes they have committed such as murder when they killed our compañeros who were authorities like Juan Vazquez Guzmán on 24th April 2013 and Juan Carlos Gomez Silvano on 21st March 2014.

There is no other way, compañeros and compañeras, we must organize and struggle to build another country where there is respect for the life of the peoples and respect for our rights.

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We want to remember our compañeros y compañeras who were killed in the massacre at Viejo Velasco in November 13, 2006, where grave human rights violations were committed, and where also there are compañeros displaced for fighting for land as in Acteal where after many years there is still no justice. This is happening in Guerrero which fills us with pain and rage, knowing that there also there is no respect for life and the autonomy of the peoples. So the best justice is not to forget, to remember the compañeros and compañeras who have fought for a world where many worlds fit.

We demand the liberation of our prisoners in Yajalón JUAN ANTONIO GOMEZ SILVANO, MARIO AGUILAR SILVANO and ROBERTO GOMEZ HERNANDEZ, prisoners in Playas de Catazajá SANTIAGO MORNEO PERES, EMILIO JIMENES GOMEZ, prisoner in Amate ESTEBAN GOMEZ JIMENEZ.

From the northern zone of the state of Chiapas, Mexico, we send an embrace and combative greetings from the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón.

Never again a Mexico without us

Land and Freedom

Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Antonio Vivar Diaz lives

NO dispossession of indigenous territories!

Immediate presentation of the disappeared compañeros from Ayotzinapa!

Long live the dignified struggle of our Chol compañeros y compañeras from the ejido Tila!

JUSTICE FOR AYOTZINAPA, ACTEAL, ABC, ATENCO!

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Words Of Esteban Gómez, Unjustly Imprisoned, From San Sebastián Bachajón

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To the national and international Sixth

To the compañeros of Movement for Justice in El Barrio from NY

A the free and alternative media

To political prisoners in Mexico

I am Esteban Gómez Jimenez, I am here in the centre for social reintegration of the sentenced no IV in el Amate in the Ejido Lazaro Cardenas, municipality of Cintalapa Figueroa.

ESTEBVANThey accused me of assault, of carrying a weapon, homicide (4 charges); I have now spent two years in prison, they put me in prison on 12th June but I am innocent, I call on you to help me to gain my freedom.

I call for national and international solidarity to help me achieve my freedom, I was imprisoned for organising and defending Mother Earth.

I greet all the political prisoners in the country.

I say goodbye and ask you to be attentive to my situation because I am unjustly imprisoned.

sincerely

Esteban Gomez Jimenez

Esteban Gomez Jimenez, prisoner since 2013 in Playas de Catazajá and then transferred to El Amate. Accused by the PRI/Green party member Manuel Jimenez Moreno from the community of Pamalhá of an assault which he did not commit, for which he was imprisoned. Once in prison, he was charged with other crimes.

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Ayotzinapa Families Visit San Sebastian Bachajón

The parents of the student compañeros from Ayotzinapa visited the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón in their community to share their struggle. The following are the dignified words of the compas of San Sebastian Bachajón, shared during the visit.

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FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJÓN, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 17th JUNE 2015

To the fathers and mothers of the 43 compañeros normal school students from Ayotzinapa, disappeared by the Mexican government,

Dear brothers and sisters you are welcome in these rebel lands of the territory of San Sebastian Bachajón, we embrace your struggle, your pain, your rebel dignity which is like ours; know that we walk together to demand the presentation alive of the 43 missing compañeros forcibly disappeared by the bad government. Because they were taken alive, we want them back alive.

Our organization understands your struggle because we are also struggling against the injustices of the bad government that wants to take our land, water, biodiversity and has asassinated our compañeros the social activists and human rights defenders like Juan Vázquez Guzmán on 24th April, 2013 and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano on 21st March, 2014.

We are tired of the abuse and corruption of the bad government that seeks to benefit  economically from our natural resources, from our knowledge and the wealth of the territory, but the poverty and hunger in the communities do not matter to them because at election time they have a way of taking advantage of the needs of the poor and the lack of awareness of many brothers and sisters, giving out their crumbs and material things which give no solutions for the present and future of the communities, because they only cause them to remain even poorer.

Compañeros and compañeras, fathers and mothers of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa who were forcibly disappeared by the bad government, we give you all our solidarity and support, we will not rest until justice is done and the bad government presents them alive.

We greet the teachers’ struggle, the communities and organizations in resistance, the collectives and people from below who scorn this corrupt and exploitative system, and those who are opening their eyes and rejecting the corrupt electioneering system that legitimizes the thieves who say that they are popular representatives.

We demand the liberation of political prisoners in Mexico and the world, including our prisoners in Yajalón JUAN ANTONIO GOMEZ SILVANO, MARIO AGUILAR SILVANO and ROBERTO GOMEZ HERNANDEZ; our prisoners in Playas de Catazajá SANTIAGO MORENO PEREZ, EMILIO JIMENEZ GOMEZ; prisoner in Amate ESTEBAN GOMEZ JIMENEZ.

Never again a Mexico without us.

Land and Freedom

Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Antonio Vivar Díaz Lives!

No dispossession of indigenous territories!

Immediate presentation of the disappeared compañeros from Ayotzinapa!

Long live the dignified struggle of our Chol compañeros y compañeras from the ejido Tila!

Because they were taken alive, we want them back alive!

JUSTICE FOR AYOTZINAPA, ACTEAL, ABC, ATENCO!

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San Sebastián Bachajón Ejido Denounces A Death And Peaceful Marches Against The “Looting Of Territory”

Logo from the Viva Bachajón blog

Members of the San Sebastián Bachajón ejido, Chilón municipality, reported that on 20 May Delmar Feliciano Méndez, 17 years of age and an adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, died by drowning when two municipal police patrols pursued him until he fell into the river. The ejidatari@s in resistance demanded justice for the death of Delmar Feliciano and expressed that his struggle for the defense of the land and territory will not stop.

Similarly, they published a note announcing that on 29 and 30 May, they would mobilize themselves peacefully to protest “the plundering of our territory and the murders committed by the bad government of Enrique Peña Nieto and Manuel Velasco Coello,” given that “they care nothing about murdering and forcibly disappearing students like our comrades from Ayotzinapa, the teacher comrade Galeano, Juan Vázquez Guzmán, and Juan Carlos Gomez Silvano. Their idea is to sow terror in the communities to continue doing their Narco-State big business,” they added. In addition, they demand “the liberation of our prisoners in Yajalón, JUAN ANTONIO GOMEZ SILVANO, MARIO AGUILAR SILVANO and ROBERTO GOMEZ HERNANDEZ; prisoners in Playas de Catazajá, SANTIAGO MORENO PEREZ and EMILIO JIMENEZ GOMEZ; and our prisoner in Amate, ESTEBAN GOMEZ JIMENEZ.

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Communique From San Sebastián Bachajón 29th May, 2015

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FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJÓN, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 29th MAY 2015

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To the collectives and committees of solidarity at a national and international level

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world

Compañeros and compañeras, today and tomorrow we go out to demonstrate peacefully in the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón in protest against the policy of dispossession of our territory and the murders committed by the bad government of Enrique Peña Nieto and Manuel Velasco Coello.

They do not care when they kill and disappear people like our compañeros the students from Ayotzinapa, our compañero the teacher Galeano, Juan  Vázquez Guzmán, Juan Carlos Gomez Silvano, because their idea is to sow terror in the communities so they can continue doing the big business of the narco government.

We denounce the ejidal commissioner of San Sebastian Bachajon Alejandro Moreno Gomez, who as well as handing over the ejido land, as did the previous [ejidal commissioner] Francisco Guzman Jimenez alias the goyito, now is going to be a politician of the municipality of Chilon, it is the same strategy of the bad government in other ejidos, so that the the ejidal authorities will betray their community in exchange for a few pesos and public office. Also the narco governor from the green party Leonardo Guirao Aguilar municipal president of Chilón moves up to federal deputy to continue his corruptions.

Our organization continues to struggle with dignity for our territory and the freedom of our imprisoned compañeros, we will not allow the bad government to continue to abuse our people for the benefit of the rich.

We demand the release of our prisoners in Yajalón JUAN ANTONIO GOMEZ SILVANO, MARIO AGUILAR SILVANO and ROBERTO GOMEZ HERNANDEZ; prisoners in Playas de Catazajá SANTIAGO MORENO PEREZ, EMILIO JIMENEZ GOMEZ; prisoner in Amate ESTEBAN GOMEZ JIMENEZ.

From the northern zone of the state of Chiapas, Mexico, we send an embrace and combative greetings from the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón.

Never again a Mexico without us

Land and Freedom

Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No dispossession of indigenous territories!

Immediate presentation of the disappeared compañeros from Ayotzinapa!

Long live the dignified struggle of our Chol compañeros y compañeras from the ejido Tila!

JUSTICE FOR AYOTZINAPA, ACTEAL, ABC, ATENCO!

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San Sebastian Bachajón denounces death through persecution 

The compañeros from San Sebastián Bachajón informed the free media of the circumstances in which Delmar Feliciano Méndez, adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle from San Jerónimo Bachajón, died last 20 th May.

The incident occurred at approximately 4:30 pm, when two patrols of the municipal police from Chilon, Chiapas, were chasing the 17-year-old in the barrio of Santa Lucia. While the compañero was trying to escape from the police, he fell into the river and died. There is already an administrative record of the events of 20th May in the Public Ministry at Bachajón.

The compañeros say that their struggle for the defence of the land and territory will not cease, and they demand justice for the death of compañero Delmar Feliciano Gómez.

http://komanilel.org/2015/06/01/san-sebastian-bachajon-denuncia-muerte-por-persecucion/ 

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A Gathering In New York: Ayotzinapa, El Barrio And San Sebastián Bachajón

Written by Jessica Davies

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We walk the same steps though our rhythms are different”Toward the end of the visit of Caravan 43 to the United States, a remarkable gathering of dignified struggles took place in New York. Representatives of the relatives of the 43 disappeared students of Ayotzinapa met in an exchange with Mexican migrants from Movement for Justice in El Barrio, and, through video messages, also with the indigenous Tseltal ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón in Chiapas. All those present at the gathering are in struggle on a daily basis for dignity and truth against the lies, injustice, death, displacement and dispossession perpetrated by the capitalist system of those from above. As part of this gathering, all present joined together in commemoration of the assassinated leader from Bachajón, Juan Vazquez Guzman. Messages were received from as far away as Uruguay and the United Kingdom, and from the renowned thinkers Sylvia Marcos and Raul Zibechi. This gathering of communities is a wonderful example of the inspiration that can be obtained from solidarity and from sharing struggles, uniting pain and dignified rage into hope, action and resistance.

“It is a great honor for us to walk the path of this dignified struggle with our dear compas from Ayotzinapa. It is wonderful to know that among our peoples, those from below, there are people like the mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, the families of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa. Dignified people who struggle with all their hearts to change the world.”

– Josefina Salazar, Movement for Justice in El Barrio.

Representatives of the families, friends and classmates of the 43 student teachers from the Rural Normal School in Ayotzinapa, who were forcibly disappeared last September, are currently traveling through different parts of the Americas and Europe in Caravan 43, to share their story and to raise awareness of their call for the return of the students alive. As part of this courageous undertaking, three groups toured the United States in April, their visit culminating in the last week of that month with a convergence in New York City to meet with human rights representatives at the United Nations.

It was at this time that the family members visited and spent an evening with the members of Movement for Justice in El Barrio (Movement), an organization of mainly Mexican migrants who struggle for dignified housing and against gentrification and displacement in East Harlem. Now celebrating its tenth anniversary, Movement has 900 members, 80 percent of whom are women, spread out over 85 building committees.

The gathering, which was conceived and structured in the form of an exchange, coincided with the second anniversary of the assassination of “our beloved compa,” the spokesperson, community organiser and activist from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, Juan Vázquez Guzmán, who was killed for his defense of the ancestral lands of his people against dispossession, a struggle which continues in his memory. “Two years since the assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán,” in the words of Raúl Zibechi to the meeting, “they want to take away the land from the community of San Sebastián Bachajón to build tourist complexes, roads, airports … to continue accumulating riches and to continue plunging the peoples into more abject poverty.” The community of Bachajón took the opportunity to share in the gathering by means of video messages, one addressed to the families of Ayotzinapa, and one to the members of Movement, so the struggles of the three groups could come together.

“We are the same because we are different”

This quotation is a Zapatista saying highlighted by Sylvia Marcos at the recent EZLN Seminar “Critical Thought versus the Capitalist Hydra,” which was held soon after the gathering featured in this article, and which echoed the same reflections.

The visitors were greeted on arrival at the church in El Barrio with hugs, and each one was presented as a gift with a beautiful image of the meeting of the struggles of the Ayotzinapa families and Movement. In this picture, a woman from one organization joins hands with one from the other, their hands entwined with a banner reading “solidarity and resistance across borders.” The two slogans at the bottom read: “They took them alive, we want them back alive,” and “We shall not be moved.” In the background is a dove, and the word “Justice.” These images symbolize the nature of the gathering. Journalist Katie Earle in her account of the event wrote, “While the struggles may seem unrelated to the uninitiated, the common ground was made clear throughout the evening.”

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After all involved had told their stories and shared their pains, their struggles and their hopes, through the spoken word, through videos, and through the reading of letters and the sharing of words of homage, the names of the 44 people – 43 disappeared students and one murdered indigenous community leader – who were being especially remembered that evening were called out, each one being answered with the word “Present.” At this point, the families of Ayotzinapa and of Movement came together for dinner, where they were joined by other groups also suffering oppression, such as gay, lesbian and transgender organizations and other people of color such as the Philippine women’s group Gabriela NY, and the New Jersey youth group the Mexican American Progress Movement. This opportunity for all these groups to discuss what they have in common reflected one of the most important aims both of the gathering and of all the groups involved: to break down the barriers that those from above use to divide us through multiple forms of oppression and through the creation of borders.

“Whether or not you vote, ORGANIZE”

The Ayotzinapa families, Movement for Justice in El Barrio, and the adherents to the Sixth Declaration from San Sebastián Bachajón have all become widely respected for their ability to organize, and to inspire others to do so as well, for we are all constructing the same liberation and fighting the same system of power and money. Subcomandante Moisés in one of his contributions to the Seminar emphasised: “Whether or not you vote, ORGANIZE … Let’s organize ourselves, each person where they are, let’s struggle to organize ourselves, let’s work to organize ourselves, let’s begin by thinking about how to start to organize and let’s gather together in order to unite our organizations for a world where the people command and the government obeys.”

It is as a result of this ability to organize that the different struggles come together, as Sylvia Marcos wrote to the gathering in El Barrio about the families of Ayotzinapa: “In their stubborn pursuit of their beloved lost children in landfill sites in the Mexican State of Guerrero, they meet with other struggles and voices in solidarity which accompany them giving homage to the 43 disappeared. It is terrible and marvellous that poor people aspiring to be teachers have become the best professors through the power of pain turned into dignified rage. So that Mexico and the world can wake up and ask and question, and be accompanied.”

And collectives from England sent their words to the gathering: “Tonight we all share and unite in our pain and our rage and our struggles and our memory. To the compañeras and compañeros of Movement for Justice in El Barrio, we warmly congratulate you on the completion of 10 years of dignified struggle against neoliberal displacement in the heart of the neoliberal monster. We thank you also for the wonderful example of fellowship and companionship that has developed between yourselves and the indigenous Tseltal ejidatarios of Bachajon, nourished by the memory of our beloved brother Juan Vázquez Guzmán, whose memory and example remain with us, a light of hope and dignity accompanying our struggles. His words were true and honest, his passion and dedication in defence of human rights and our mother earth were tireless, and his love for his people, their lands and territory will have no end. He gave his life for this struggle and he will always continue to inspire his sisters and brothers as their dignified resistance continues.”

The urgent need for organization was subsequently summed up by Sup Galeano at the EZLN Seminar: “All that we have, that is to say, our survival in spite of everything and in spite of everyone above who has come and gone in the calendars and geographies, we do not owe to individuals. We owe it to our collective and organized struggle.”

“The Zapatista heart that is ours”

“In this ruthless war of capital against those from below, the following meet in resistance now, here, together making an echo amplifying their own history: the family and absent compañeros of Ayotzinapa, the migrants of Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York, and the common landholders and villagers of San Sebastián Bachajón who suffered the unpunished assassination of the distinguished defender from that territory, Juan Vasquez.

“The resistances and rebellions are joined together, they amplify one another, they intensify each other, they strengthen one another and we unite ourselves in them with the Zapatista heart that is ours,” writes the Mexican feminist writer Sylvia Marcos in her moving letter to the gathering.

Inspiration from the Zapatistas is something that all these struggles from below have in common. The families of Ayotzinapa have received solid and consistent support from the Zapatistas, Movement have woven their struggle throughout with Zapatismo, and the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón are strong adherents to the EZLN’s Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle. Those who participated by letter from around the world shared this common link. A video of the silent march of the Zapatistas in support of Ayotzinapa was therefore shown near the beginning as a way to highlight Zapatismo throughout the evening.

Sup Galeano summed up another common thread at the recent Seminar: “The great majority of the world, not just in our country, is like you, brothers and sisters, family members of the Ayotzinapa missing. People who have to fight day and night for a little piece of life. People who have to struggle in order to wrench from reality something with which to sustain themselves. Anyone from below, man, woman, otroa, who lives this painful history, sympathizes with your struggle for truth and justice. They share your demand because in your words they see their own history, because they recognize themselves in your pain, because they identify with your rage.”

“The year of resistance with dignity, of dignified rebel rage.”

In his powerful words which were read as his contribution to the gathering, the Uruguayan writer and analyst Raúl Zibechi describes the last year: “It has been a year full of resistances, of struggles, of the dignity of those from below. It has been a year of repression and death, destruction and forced disappearances. Those from above, fearful of losing their power, want to destroy us. It has been one of the most difficult years in the recent history of Mexic … It has been the year in which they could no longer hide the war of extermination against the peoples …

“But it has also been the year of resistance with dignity, of dignified rebel rage. In this year the common landholders of San Sebastián Bachajón not only kept up their resistance but also recuperated their lands, the lands that had been stolen from them, they defended them against the bad government and will continue to do so. By acting in this way, determined and peaceful, they became an example of dignity to other community members who decided to join the struggle.

“The families and friends of the 43 of Ayotzinapa, in this very difficult year, gave demonstrations of dignity to Mexico, Latin America and the world. They turned their pain into political action by winning the streets to share their rage, which has become a collective rage, the rage of everyone. In doing so they showed us a path, the only path able to overcome fear: to move collectively, to turn ourselves into communities in movement.”

Today we walk, holding hands….

This momentous evening concluded with words and music from the different groups attending. A videomessage of solidarity from members of the anti-displacement group Springfield No One Leaves, from Springfield, Massachussets, was screened.  The families of the disappeared students then called for accompaniment on their march to the United Nations, which was to take place three days later to demand that Mexico and its international partners bring justice to the Ayotzinapa disappeared. This call was answered by many of the people present, who carried the image made for the meeting, along with Zapatista figures, on this march.

Let us finish with some words of hope from Raúl Zibechi’s message which perfectly encapsulate the significance of this New York gathering: “In streets and fields, in cities and ejidos, we are sisters and brothers struggling, resisting, making ourselves one with others who resist. First pain brought us together. Now rage continues to unite us in fellowship. Walking in dignity, we find each other.

“Today we walk, holding hands, the common landholders of San Sebastián Bachajón, the families and friends of the 43 of Ayotzinapa and Movement for Justice in El Barrio. We come from distant geographies, from different places, but we share the same pain and now also we walk the same steps though our rhythms are different. Walking together, we leave footprints that draw a new map, a new geography: one of the dignity that unites us, of the rage that drives us.”

This article was originally published in Spanish in Desinformemonos.

http://upsidedownworld.org/main/mexico-archives-79/5344-a-gathering-in-new-york-ayotzinapa-el-barrio-and-san-sebastian-bachajon

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May 31, 2015

San Sebastián Bachajón: The Struggle Against Dispossession In Mexico

Written by Ricardo Lagunes and Jessica Davies

http://upsidedownworld.org/main/mexico-archives-79/5311-san-sebastian-bachajon-the-struggle-against-dispossession-in-mexico

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April 24th, 2015, marked the second anniversary of the vicious assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, community leader, spokesperson and social activist from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, “in whose memory our struggle continues.” Despite the killing of two of their leaders and frequent attacks from local government-supporters and public security forces, the ejidatarios (common landholders), adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, remain firm in their resistance to dispossession, and in their struggle in defense of their ancestral land, territory and Mother Earth. The situation has now become critical. A local court has rejected the legal case of the ejidatarios against appropriation of their common lands by the Mexican government. This openly violates the rights of the ejido to consultation, to free, prior and informed consent and offers impunity to political elites and transnational corporations who dispossess indigenous people from their lands in favor of neoliberal megaprojects.

The CNI analyses repression against the original peoples

The peoples, nations and tribes making up the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), gathered together recently to analyze “the repressive wave against the peoples” conducted by “the capitalist narco-governors who seek to take over our homeland.” They released a statement of their position, in which they stated: “the repression which the bad government has carried out against our peoples is in response to our decision to continue with our resistance, so that we can continue to exist, in spite of the bloody war of extermination…..which they conduct in order to consolidate their economic interests, which are based on exploitation, dispossession, repression, and contempt.”

The CNI goes on to list some of the different faces and reflections of this dispossession and continued resistance. Their second example is: “The Tseltal community of San Sebastián Bachajón, in the municipality of Chilón, Chiapas, has faced the repressive forces of the bad government, who have tried to dispossess them of [their lands near] the Agua Azul waterfalls, which they intend to hand over to capitalist interests. In fact, on March 21st of this year, more than six hundred members of government security forces burned down the regional headquarters of San Sebastián; our brothers and sisters, and the free press, which has stood in solidarity with their struggle, have been assaulted…..while the state police and Mexican army have escalated their occupation of their territory in support of the paramilitary groups.”

In this wave of repression the indigenous peoples face dispossession from their lands, territory, culture, history, traditions and life itself to make way for megaprojects which offer them nothing but death; these include mining projects, roads, airports, aqueducts, hydroelectric or wind power schemes, industrial developments, gas or water pipelines, and, in the case of San Sebastián Bachajón, luxury hotel developments for tourist businesses.

Background

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In 2006, the then governor of Chiapas revealed a plan to “build a new Cancún in northern Chiapas,” and many of the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón started organizing to defend their territory. In 2007, they became adherents to the Zapatista Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle. Also in 2007, plans were announced for the long-discussed Palenque Integrally Planned Centre (CIPP) or “the Gateway to the Maya World,” a luxury tourist megaproject involving a new airport and superhighway, the jewel in the crown being international hotel developments at the stunning waterfalls of Agua Azul, access to which involves passing through the territory of the ejido Bachajón. Dispossessing the ejidatarios of these lands thus became crucial to the plan, which involved multinational corporations in    co-operation with the three levels of the Mexican government and the co-opted ejidal leaders.

It is clearly laid down in national and international treaties, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization, Article 2 of the Constitution of the United States of Mexico, and the San Andrés Accords, that as indigenous peoples, the Tseltales of San Sebastián Bachajón have the right to free, prior and informed consent in relation to their lands and natural resources, and the right to free determination of their affairs. This absolute right to consultation and consent has been violated and ignored time and again, and instead groups of government-supporting ejidatarios – known as officialists – from the PRI political party started organizing shock groups in the area, and an officialist ejidal commissioner was imposed illegally on the ejido. The scene was set.

Following repression, threats and harassment, the conflict culminated on the 2nd of February, 2011, when an armed eviction of the ejidatarios of the Sixth from the area around Agua Azul was carried out by officialists from San Sebastián and from neighboring communities, with the support of around 800 state and federal police. The following day, national and state public forces entered the territory and arrested 117 people, under the pretext that it was all an intra-community conflict.

Following this, in March 2011, Franciso Guzman Jiménez, former commissioner of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, one of the leaders of the attack, made an agreement which handed over an area of Bachajón’s land to the Chiapas state government and to the National Commission for Natural Protected Areas (CONANP.) He did this without the prior consent of the assembly of the ejidatarios, therefore the ownership of these lands, and of the toll-booth, giving access to the waterfalls, has been in dispute. The legal case of the ejidatarios is clear, and their lawyer has conducted an action for amparo (order for legal protection) through the courts; a favorable result was anticipated, taking into account all the evidence and the sending of the case to the Supreme Court in the Federal District through the initiative of the Third Collegiate Tribunal in Tuxtla Gutiérrez.

The amparo against dispossession

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The ejido San Sebastián Bachajón has sustained a legal battle since 2011, because the Mexican government has, by means of acts of violence since February 2nd of 2011, claimed ownership of the ejidal land in common use where access is gained to the “Agua Azul Waterfalls” Ecological Centre. Following their violent entry, the officialist ejido leader signed an agreement with the government; through this they sought to give a cover of legality to the dispossession of the common use lands, which had not been authorized in the highest body representing the ejido, the ejidal assembly.

Faced with such arbitrary actions, the ejidatarios filed, in March 2011, for the amparo 274/2011 before the Seventh District Judge in the State of Chiapas. After three rulings for its dismissal by the Seventh District Judge, on September 29th of 2014, the Third Collegiate Tribunal in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, in order to resolve the amparo in review 224/2014, overturned the dismissal and asked the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation to consider the case due to its associated legal significance; since the case of Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón is a reflection of the conflicts that led to the armed uprising of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in 1994, for this reason the Court noted that it was appropriate for the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation to decide the issue of the ejido, so that thereby the foundations could be laid for the resolution of dozens of cases of the same kind in the region on the matter of the rights of indigenous peoples.

On November 19th 2014 the rapporteur Minister Margarita Beatriz Luna Ramos (originally from San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas) proposed to the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation not to exercise their right to decide Bachajón’s amparo and they returned it to the Third Collegiate Tribunal to be resolved.

On April 6th 2015 the Third Collegiate Tribunal contradicted its arguments and issued a judgement denying the amparo to the ejido, by giving value as evidence to the agreement made between the former Governor Juan Sabines Guerrero and the former officialist ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón, Francisco Guzmán Jiménez; this decision openly violates the rights of the ejido to consultation and to free, prior and informed consent. All of this is in order to benefit the political elites and transnational tourism companies, which is the reason they have designed counterinsurgency strategies to give it the appearance of an inter- and intra-ejidal conflict.

Given these abuses a signature campaign and petition were launched to demand the enforcement of international treaties signed by the Mexican State; because up to now the Judicial Power of the Federation has favoured and privileged the impunity with which the dispossession of the indigenous peoples of Mexico has been operated. The call is made to join with the appeals of the compañeros and compañeras adherents to the Sixth and to expose the judges of the Third Collegiate Tribunal in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas who obey, answer to and operate politically for the transnationals.

Recent events

The ejidatarios of Bachajón have never given up their rights to their lands, territory and natural resources, and have continued tirelessly to carry out a dignified struggle in defense of these rights. So, on December 21st of 2014, more than 400 ejidatarios peacefully recuperated the lands surrounding the toll-booth, which they were robbed of in 2011, and set up a day and night guard over the area. At this time they were joined by a growing number of non-adherent ejidatarios.

In a communiqué on January the 18th, the ejidatarios explain what happened next: “On the ninth of January the bad government sent more than 900 police to evict the women and men guarding the reclaimed lands… On the eleventh of January we began to block the road from Ocosingo to Palenque at the Agua Azul crossroad, where we blocked the road for several days to demand that the public forces leave our land, but the government ordered its police to fire at us with high calibre firearms… In spite of this attack the compañeros and compañeras responded with courage and dignity and we maintained a total blockage of the road until a few days ago, when it became an intermittent and informative road block accompanied by national and international solidarity of women and men of good heart. We inform you that our compañeros and compañeras are going to remain in the place where we have been since January 11th until the police leave our lands.”

On January 29th, faced with a constant police presence and a situation of high tension, with the ejidal commissioner, Alejandro Moreno Gómez organizing shock-groups which “fire into the night with high-calibre weapons to frighten the population,” the ejidatarios issued a communiqué: “We continue to do the work of resistance defending our people and territory from dispossession by the bad government; for this reason we are building a San Sebastián regional headquarters to be a place of work, workshops and exchanges. The work at this headquarters starts today; we have built it a kilometer from the Agua Azul crossroad and from the border with the official municipality of Tumbalá.”

The tension increased. There remained a heavy presence of public forces in the area and the government continued to give support to the officialists, led by the ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez and the security adviser Samuel Díaz Guzmán, who were threatening to evict the regional headquarters and attempting to criminalize the organized people of Bachajón through the fabrication of crimes, both by accusing them of being authors of assaults on the road between Ocosingo and Palenque, and also by organizing roadblocks at the Agua Azul turning and blaming the ejidatarios for these. At the same time, the commercial press was stoking the fire by reporting: “An armed confrontation is expected at any moment between opposing groups who are disputing the area, which is one of the attractions of our state to national and international tourism.”

The burning of the San Sebastian regional headquarters

“We denounce that today, March 21st of 2015, at around 8 o’clock in the morning, more than 600 members of the public forces burned down our San Sebastián regional headquarters with the participation of the ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez and the security adviser Samuel Díaz Guzmán,” the ejidatarios wrote in a communiqué. “Once again the politics of death and the corruption of the bad government are demonstrated, and its contempt for the people and human rights because it seeks to achieve its ambition to get hold of our territory through the dispossession of the land, the water and everything that exists in our country, as if it were merchandise, in order to gain money….. After the violent eviction of 9th of January, 2015, we in our organization established the San Sebastián regional headquarters to continue caring for the land and to demand the withdrawal of bad government, this is where we will continue because we are the original peoples of these lands.”

Two days later the people of Bachajón further denounced the “support of the bad government for the paramilitary leaders Alejandro Moreno Gómez and Samuel Díaz Guzmán” following an attack on two members of the free media who were monitoring the human rights situation. “The bad government uses its cunning and gives them weapons so that at any time they can come to kill us….and so the bad government washes its hands saying the problem is between indigenous and they are killing each other, and for this reason it then sends its public forces to take away our lands.”

The fallen leaders

11141264_10155537831945512_2628082814479590200_oIn their March 21st communiqué the indigenous organization stated; “We remember today with dignified rage that it is a year since the killing of our compañero Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, coordinator of the organization in the community of Virgen de Dolores.” It is surely not a coincidence that this day was selected. March 21st is also the sixteenth anniversary of the Zapatista “consulta”, when citizens of Mexico were invited to vote on questions about the San Andres Accords on indigenous rights and culture, in an example of true consultation, something the indigenous peoples of Bachajón have been consistently denied.

The communiqué continues: “and next month will mark two years since the killing of our compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán, secretary general of our organization, in whose memory the struggle in San Sebastián Bachajón continues.” There has been no justice, the authorities have yet to shed any light on his murder, or to arrest anyone in connection with it, but Juan still accompanies the struggle of his people, who remember his words and what he stood for. A recent short film, The Dignified Resistance of San Sebastián Bachajón continues, ends with a tribute: “In memory of our brother Juan Vázquez Guzmán. A light of dignity and struggle and the true word become man. Compa Juan Vázquez Guzmán we embrace your legacy. Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives! The struggle continues!”

As they prepare for Juan’s annual homage, his compañeros continue his struggle for the land and for the mother earth. “We demand the withdrawal of public forces and of the national commission for protected natural areas from our lands, dispossessed since February 2011. We demand freedom for our political prisoners Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández and of the unjustly imprisoned compañeros Santiago Moreno Perez, Emilio Jimenez Gómez and Esteban Gómez Jiménez.”

And the words of Juan find an echo: “We are original peoples of these lands and we have rights that they cannot just come and take away like this with their police and paramilitaries. Our word and struggle has more strength because it comes from dignity and the love of life, of the land; our struggle is not for ourselves, it is for our children, for our grandchildren to come, because we have the right to defend and care for the land, to be autonomous and to decide what is the best way to live as a people, we do not need political parties, neither do we need the bad government to come to tell us what to do.”

Article originally published in Spanish: http://desinformemonos.org/2015/04/san-sebastian-bachajon-la-lucha-contra-el-despojo/

For further information: https://vivabachajon.wordpress.com/en-ingles/

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Commemoration of Juan Vázquez Guzman iin San Sebastián Bachajón, 24th April  2015

 

(The video is in Spanish and Tseltal)

In honour of our dear brother Juan Vázquez Guzmán, human rights defender from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón who was assassinated two years ago, we are posting this new video made by the free media Kolektivo Zero and Radio Zapote during the commemoration of Juan on 24th April, 2015. The commemoration was held at Juan’s family home and in the video solidarity letters are read. In the words of his companer@s, “after two years, we do not forget you compa, you will continue to live in our hearts.”

Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

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 Sylvia Marcos: About Juan Vázquez Guzmán Of Bachajón And Ayotzinapa 

“Second Annual Commemoration In El Barrio, New York

In Memory Of Juan Vázquez Guzmán” 

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On 23rd April, 2015, family members of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students visited Movement for Justice in El Barrio in New York.

During this special meeting, they commemorated together the beloved compa Juan Vázquez Guzmán, community leader, spokesperson and activist from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón.

During this commemoration in New York in honour of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, the feminist writer Sylvia Marcos from Mexico also sent her word by means of the following letter:

Letter/Message From The Mexican Feminist Writer Sylvia Marcos

Juan Vasquez Guzman was assassinated and Bachajon remains under siege.

Other resistances burst into the calendars and geographies.

The compañeros from San Sebastián Bachajon are attacked defending their territory from the greedy clutches of capital which wants to take over the ownership of the waterfalls of Agua Azul, of this territory owned by indigenous ejidatarios, to transform into pseudo-ecological tourist centres, with luxury hotels. They want to dispossess the ejidatarios and also to exploit their geographical area to extract biofuels.

This is why they killed compañero Juan Vasquez, because he was the great defender of his territory.

They want to invade and transform these lands to extract resources of all kinds and benefit big business and their accomplices in corrupt governments.

The state and federal police continue to illegally occupy the territory.

But … Juan Vasquez lives on in the struggle which goes on and on.

I now greet the compañeros from Ayotzinapa, the parents with absent children, stolen, disappeared, who are joining their struggle with the struggle of Movement for Justice in El Barrio in New York.

The orphans of the tragedy of Ayotzinapa are not alone, in their stubborn pursuit of their beloved lost children in landfill sites in the Mexican State of Guerrero, they meet with other struggles and voices in solidarity which accompany them giving homage to the 43 disappeared.

It is terrible and marvellous that poor people aspiring to be teachers have become the best professors through the power of pain turned into dignified rage.

So that Mexico and the world can wake up and ask and question, and be accompanied.

In this ruthless war of capital against those from below, the following meet in resistance now, here, together making an echo amplifying their own history: the family and absent compañeros of Ayotzinapa, the migrants of Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York, with the common landholders and villagers of San Sebastián Bachajon who suffered the unpunished assassination of the distinguished defender from that territory, Juan Vasquez.

The resistances and rebellions are joined together, they amplify one another, they intensify each other, they strengthen one another and we unite ourselves in them with the Zapatista heart that is ours.

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From England: About Juan Vázquez Guzmán Of Bachajón And Ayotzinapa 

“Second Annual Commemoration In El Barrio, New York

In Memory Of Juan Vázquez Guzmán”

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On 23rd April, 2015, family members of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students visited Movement for Justice in El Barrio in New York. During this special meeting, they commemorated together the beloved compa Juan Vázquez Guzmán, community leader, spokesperson and activist from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón.

During this commemoration in New York in honour of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, the Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group and the Committee of the True Word for South-West England also sent their word by means of the following letter:

To the family and friends of Juan Vázquez Guzmán

To the adherents to the Sixth Declaration from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón

To the families and friends of the 43 disappeared students of Ayotzinapa

To the members of Movement for Justice in El Barrio

Compañeras and Compañeros

We send you our warmest and most affectionate greetings from the United Kingdom as you gather together in homage to honour our fallen compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán.

Our thoughts will be with you all this evening, as the memory of Juan brings us all together and helps to unite our different struggles. We will hold alongside you a small act of homage. Your continuing resistances are an inspiration to us, and we know that you will give strength and hope to each other as you bring your memories together and renew your commitment to walking the path towards dignity, freedom and justice, as compañero Juan has taught us.

It is now two years since Juan was cruelly assassinated, but his memory and example remain with us, a light of hope and dignity accompanying our struggles. His words were true and honest, his passion and dedication in defence of human rights and our mother earth were tireless, and his love for his people, their lands and territory will have no end. He gave his life for this struggle and he will always continue to inspire his sisters and brothers as their dignified resistance continues.

To the compañeras and compañeros from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajónwe in our small and humble way offer you our continuing solidarity, and will remain alert as to what happens in your territory. We energetically condemn the repression and harassment you face day after day. The assassination of Juan has not been resolved, you have once again been dispossessed of your recuperated lands, your regional headquarters has been burned down, and your amparo has been denied. We know that all this is the work of the bad government and their lackeys who seek to dispossess you from your heritage. We know also that truth and justice are on your side, along with national and international solidarity, and that the struggle will never end.

To the compañeras and compañeros the families and friends of the disappeared students of Ayotzinapa, we thank you for not giving up your search for the live presentation of your sons and for making Mexico and the world aware of the true situation in your country Mexico. People all over the world are supporting you and we welcome the forthcoming visit of three of your compañeros to London, during their European tour. Tonight we all share and unite in our pain and our rage and our struggles and our memory.

To the compañeras and compañeros of Movement for Justice in El Barrio, we warmly congratulate you on the completion of ten years of dignified struggle against neoliberal displacement in the heart of the neoliberal monster. We thank you also for the wonderful example of fellowship and companionship that has developed between yourselves and the ejidatarios of Bachajon, nourished by the memory of our beloved brother.

They tried to bury Juan Vázquez Guzmán but he was a seed which has sprouted and now grows and flourishes. There will be many Juans, because those who give their lives for the land do not die but live on in every act of freedom and rebellion. Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives, and continues to care for the mother earth, the natural world, and his people, and to give strength and spirit to their resistance. Hasta siempre compañero.

Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives! The San  Sebastián Bachajón struggle continues!

We send you an embrace of companionship

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group

Committee of the True Word for South-West England

23rd April, 2015

Commemoration of Juan Vázquez Guzmán (Spanish and Tseltal)

MovimientoAyotzi-image

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“Second Annual Commemoration In El Barrio, New York

In Memory Of Juan Vázquez Guzmán”

Message From Raúl Zibechi

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On 23rd April, 2015, family members of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students visited Movement for Justice in El Barrio in New York. During this special meeting, they commemorated together the beloved compa Juan Vázquez Guzmán, community leader, spokesperson and activist from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón.

During this commemoration in New York in honour of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, the writer Raúl Zibechi from Uruguay also sent his word by means of the following letter:

To: Movement for Justice in El Barrio.

On the second anniversary of the assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán

Compañeros, Compañeras:

It has been a year full of resistances, of struggles, of the dignity of those from below.

It has been a year of repression and death, destruction and forced disappearances. Those from above, fearful of losing their power, want to destroy us.

It has been one of the most difficult years in the recent history of Mexico. So hard that it recalls 1968, when the Tlatelolco massacre took hundreds of students from us.

It has been the year in which they could no longer hide the war of extermination against the peoples.

Two years since the assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán. They want to take away the land from the community of San Sebastián Bachajón to build tourist complexes, roads, airports … to continue accumulating riches and to continue plunging the peoples into more abject poverty.

2014 has been the year of the disappearance of the 43 from Ayotzinapa, in order to destroy the normal schools, in order to disappear the teachers committed to their peoples -teachers who accompany the struggles from below, who work together to reclaim memory – and, above all, in order to prevent the teachers and peoples, together, from building a new world.

But it has also been the year of resistance with dignity, of dignified rebel rage.

In this year the common landholders of San Sebastián Bachajón not only kept up their resistance but also recuperated their lands, the lands that had been stolen from them, they defended them against the bad government and will continue to do so. By acting in this way, determined and peaceful, they became an example of dignity to other community members who decided to join the struggle.

The families and friends of the 43 of Ayotzinapa, in this very difficult year, gave demonstrations of dignity to Mexico, Latin America and the world. They turned their pain into political action by winning the streets to share their rage, which has become a collective rage, the rage of everyone. In doing so they showed us a path, the only path able to overcome fear: to move collectively, to turn ourselves into communities in movement.

In streets and fields, in cities and ejidos, we are sisters and brothers struggling, resisting, making ourselves one with others who resist. First pain brought us together. Now rage continues to unite us in fellowship. Walking in dignity, we meet each other.

Today we walk, holding hands, the common landholders of San Sebastián Bachajón, the families and and friends of the 43 of Ayotzinapa and Movement for Justice in El Barrio. We come from distant geographies, from different places, but we share the same pain and now also we walk the same steps though our rhythms are different. Walking together, we leave footprints that draw a new map, a new geography: one of the dignity that unites us, of the rage that drives us.

We are all Aytozinapa!!!

We are all San Sebastián Bachajón!!!

Raúl Zibechi

Montevideo, April 21, 2015

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2 Years After His Assassination Juan Vázquez Lives!

 

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In San Sebastián Bachajón yesterday 24th April was a day of homage to Juan Vázquez Guzmán, who was an authority of the Ejido who fought with all his good heart to defend their lands against the ferocious appetite of the bad government and of the transnationals in Mexico and the world.

Although his struggle was always peaceful, on 24th April 2013, at 9.00 pm, a group of men entered his house and, after a few minutes of discussion, gun shots were heard, and a truck leaving the ejido. Shortly afterwards his brother saw Juan lying on the ground in front of the door of his house, with several bullet wounds.

The family are still demanding justice, and 2 years later the crime remains unpunished, there have been no investigations and no one has been arrested.

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On this day, family, neighbours and nationals and internationals in solidarity gathered in the humble home of Juan Vázquez to recall his memory and continue to demand justice and his firm intention to continue fighting to defend their lands. During the religious ceremony it was open to anyone who wanted to speak in Tzeltal or Castilian. Representatives of the Free Media spoke to give their support. Several statements of support were then read from various regions of Chiapas and the world. The compañera read with much emotion. The ceremony ended with a plate of food shared by everyone present.

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 WORDS SHARED BY THE BROTHER OF JUAN VÁZQUEZ 24/04/2015

In Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón,

April 24, 2015

By this means we allow ourselves to send you cordial greetings (…)

From the family of the late Juan Vázquez Guzmán

“Today 24th April, 2015, the commemoration is being held of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, human rights defender. His two sons, one of eight and one of six years old, are now living with his grandparents.

This compañero was killed in front of his home on 24th April, 2013, by a group of assassins from the bad government.

Also we honour his memory and remember his dignified struggle for his people.

From the northern state of Chiapas, the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón send militant greetings.

Never again a Mexico without us.

Tierra y Libertad!

Juan Vásquez Guzmán lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Justice for Ayotzinapa,

Hasta la victoria siempre…”

Video: @MovimientoJusticia  Transcripcion video: @Pozol  Fotos: @Valk

http://espoirchiapas.blogspot.mx/2015/04/a-2-anos-de-su-asesinato-juan-vazquez.html

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Message From The Family Of Juan Vázquez Guzmán

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Friday 24th April, 2015 marks the second anniversary of the brutal assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán of San Sebastián Bachajón.

On 23rd April, 2015, members of the families of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa visited Movement for Justice in El Barrio in New York. During this special gathering, they commemorated together the dear compa Juan Vázquez Guzmán, community leader, spokesperson and activist of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón.

For this commemoration, Juan Vázquez Guzmán’s family sent the following videomessage.

Narrated by Juan’s brother Julian, the videomessage tells how Juan was shot by thugs of the bad government outside his house, and leaves two sons, aged 6 and 8, who are being brought up by their grandparents.

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Legal Motion Denied To The Ejidatarios Of San Sebastián Bachajón

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Ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón, who struggle against the imposition of tourist megaprojects on their land, have been denied the legal motion they had presented to the courts in March 2011.  After three cancellations, an attempt to transfer the case to the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation, and despite the the detection of violations of due process, a federal tribunal denied the motion 274/2011.  In a communique released on 10 April, the anniversary of the murder of Emiliano Zapata, the ejidatarios reported their knowledge of the refusal of the motion, reaffirmed their commitment to the struggle against the State, and denounced that official authorities are meeting with party-members from the region, seeking to develop strategies to crush their own autonomous process.

This struggle over the management of lands surrounding the Agua Azul waterfalls has resulted in three violent displacement operations, two murdered communal leaders (Juan Vázquez Guzmán, killed on 24 April 2013, and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, killed on 21 March 2014), and several political prisoners.  Recently, the ejidatarios also had their regional headquarters burned down, in an operation that involved 600 police, who threatened two autonomous journalists and took their equipment.

In the latest communique, released on 11 April, the ejidatarios make an invitation to the commemoration of the murder of Juan Vázquez Guzmán.  On 24 April, the second anniversary of his, a mass will be held in the family home of Juan Vázquez Guzmán at 3pm.

As a means of popular pressure, a petition has been launched on www.change.org, and the Chiapas Centre for Women’s Rights seeks signatures for its communique in support of the ejidatarios.

https://sipazen.wordpress.com/2015/04/24/chiapas-legal-motion-denied-to-the-ejidatarios-of-san-sebastian-bachajon/

 

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Worldwide Pronouncement in Solidarity with our Compañer@s of San Sebastián Bachajón in their Dignified Struggle for their Land and Territory

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We reject, denounce and strongly condemn the repressive actions committed by the three levels of government, their state forces and local lackeys against our compañer@s, adherents to the Sixth, from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas, Mexico.

21st March is a date of great significance for the organized indigenous peoples of Mexico. March 21, 2015 is the sixteenth anniversary of the Zapatista “consulta”, when 5,000 representatives of the EZLN travelled throughout Mexico inviting citizens to vote on four questions concerning the San Andres Accords on indigenous rights and culture. This consulta is just one example of the ways in which the Zapatistas have taught us about true democracy. But, for the Tseltal peoples of Bachajón, the situation has been very different; their rights as indigenous peoples to self-determination and full consultation have been violated again and again, and the only consultations that those from above and their lackeys have offered them have been mere simulations and deceptions.

March 21, 2015 is also the first anniversary of the murder of Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, regional coordinator of the organization in the community of Virgen de Dolores. It is surely no coincidence that on that day, at 8 am, more than 600 members of the public forces burned down the San Sebastián regional headquarters, with the participation of the ejidal Commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gomez and the Security Adviser Samuel Díaz Guzmán. In this way, our compañer@s were also violently evicted from their recuperated lands, and the bad government has violated once again those same San Andrés Accords.

We remember well that on January 9, 2015, more than 900 members of state and federal police violently evicted the compañer@s guarding and protecting the land that belongs to them and which they had recovered peacefully on December 21, 2014, for the benefit of the people of Bachajón. The ejidatarios adherents remain firm in their resistance, so, to continue and strengthen their struggle, on 29th January they began to build the regional headquarters of San Sebastián on these lands to be a place for work, workshops and sharings.

These lands legally and rightfully belong to the indigenous Tzeltal ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, and are judicially protected under an amparo. However, the three levels of government have chosen once again to evict the ejidatarios using aggression and repression, in total violation of the rights of the indigenous inhabitants.

It is well known that the government and big companies want to deprive the indigenous peoples of their territory in order to build a luxury tourism development. As indicated earlier, the right of the Tzeltal people of San Sebastián Bachajón to free, prior and informed consent about the megaproject has been ignored, and this area of ​​their ancestral land has been appropriated without the permission or consent of the ejido. This means that the acts of dispossession of 9 January and 21 March were illegal and clear violations of the human rights of the communities.

The rights of indigenous peoples to build their autonomy and to the use and enjoyment of their territory are laid down in national and international treaties that Mexico has signed: the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization, Article 2 of the Constitution of the United States of Mexico, and the aforementioned San Andrés Accords. We demand an immediate end to the violation of these rights. We also demand full guarantees and respect for all the rights of the indigenous peoples of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, especially their rights to life, liberty and personal integrity.

We are also outraged that two compañeros from the free media have been attacked by the government-supporting group of the ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón, Alejandro Moreno Gómez. We will remain alert and vigilant and follow developments in the ejido closely, remaining alert for any acts of aggression. We hold the three levels of government and the current ejidal authorities responsible for the security and integrity of the ejidatarios, and for any acts of violence, harassment or intimidation that may occur.

We offer all our solidarity to our compañeras and compañeros who struggle for the benefit of their peoples and to defend their lands and territories, their natural resources and our mother earth. We call on all people of good heart to undertake actions of solidarity and fellowship to accompany the dignified struggle of the people of Bachajón, according to their own ways, times and geographies.

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón Struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón Struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

Signatures:

Groups and Collectives:

Agencia Prensa India (API), Mexico

ASSI (Acción Social Sindical Internacionalista)

Associació Solidaria Cafè Rebeldía-Infoespai, Barcelona, Catalonia

Associazione Ya Basta! Milano, Italy

Caracol mundo-eco de latido en solidaridad, Austria

Caracol Solidario, Besançon, France

Caracol Zaragoza, Spanish State

Casa Nicaragua, Lieja, Belgium

Centro de Documentación sobre Zapatismo -CEDOZ- Spanish State

Centro de derechos humanos de los pueblos del Sur de Veracruz “Bety Cariño” AC, Mexico

CGT – Spanish State

Colectivo Contra la Tortura y la Impunidad A.C.

Colectivo Educación para la Paz y los Derechos Humanos A.C

Colectivo Votán Zapata, Coyoacan, Mexico

Manchester Zapatista Collective, UK

Comitato Chiapas “Maribel” – Bergamo, Italy

Chiapas Support Committee, Oakland, CA, US

Committee of the True Word for South-West England, UK

Comité Tierra y Libertad de Lille, France

Coordinadora Valle del Chalko, Edo. De Méx., Mexico

CSPCL (Comité de Solidaridad con los Pueblos de Chiapas en Lucha), Paris, France

Decolonial Food For Thought, Los Angeles, US

Digne Rage Collectif, France

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group, UK

Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group, Scotland

Espoir Chiapas, France

Grupo CafeZ, Lieja, Belgium

Gruppe B.A.S.T.A., Münster, Germany

KIPTIK, Bristol, UK

La Adhesiva, Barcelona, Catalonia

La Asamblea Veracruzana de Iniciativas y Defensa Ambiental (LAVIDA) Xalapa. Veracruz, Mexico

La plataforma vasca de solidaridad con Txiapas, Basque Country

LA Sexta en Surponiente-DF,Mexico

Les trois passants, Paris, France

London Mexico Solidarity Group, UK

MASA (MesoAmerica Solidarity Action), Liverpool, UK

Movement for Justice in El Barrio, New York, US

Mujeres y la Sexta, Mexico

Mut Vitz 13, Marseilles, France

Nodo Solidale (Italy and Mexico)

Oye Latino on Wellington Access Radio, New Zealand

Plataforma de Solidaridad con Chiapas y Guatemala de Madrid, Spanish State

Proceso de articulación de la sierra de santa Marta, sur de Veracruz, Mexico

Red de mujeres de la tierra unidas por un futuro y un mundo mejor AC

Red Global por la Paz en México, Tokyo

Resistencias Enlazando Dignidad-Movimiento y Corazón Zapatista, Mexico

Servicio paz y Justicia (SERPAJ), Morelos, Mexico

Shades of Silence, US

Somos los Otros NY, US

TXIAPASEKIN, Plataforma Vasca de Solidaridad con Chiapas, Basque Country

Wellington Zapatista Support Group, New Zealand

UK Zapatista Solidarity Network

UK Zapatista Translation Service

UK Zap Sol

Zapatista Solidarity Group – Essex, UK

Zapatista Teaching and Learning Collective, UK

Individuals:

Alberto Arellano Mariano, Mexico

Pietro Ameglio, Servicio paz y Justicia (SERPAJ), Morelos, Mexico

Abraham Antonio Alonso Reyes, Mexico, D.F

Cynthia Astudillo

Hugo Blanco, Peru

Raquel Carrillo, Tijuana, Mexico

Marlene Castañeda, Mexico, D.F.

Enriqueta G. Chávez López, Mexico

Paulin Chávez Rojas, Mexico

Susana M. Clares Fuente, Mexico

Jessica Davies, UK

Rosalba Dávila Ortiz, Puebla, Mexico

Gerson de Lima Oliveira, Porto Alegre, Brazil

Rosa de Santiago Fernández, Colima, Col., Mexico

Jair De Zouza Faria, Río de Janeiro, Brazil

Francisco José Díaz Marcilla, Lisboa, Portugal

Joandy Diego, Colorado, US

Juliette Doman, MASA (MesoAmerica Solidarity Action), Liverpool, UK

Rogelio Estrada Serafín, Chihuahua, Chih., Mexico

Gustavo Esteva, Mexico

Michael Farley, MASA (MesoAmerica Solidarity Action), Liverpool, UK

Ángela Fernández, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico

Iris S. Fiala, Austria

Davey Flynn, UK

Myriam Fracchia, Servicio paz y Justicia (SERPAJ), Morelos, Mexico

Aranza Galván Abrego, Celaya, Gto., Mexico

Milton Gómez Membrila, Colima, Col., Mexico

Víctor Manuel Gutiérrez Torres, Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico

Jorge Herrera, New Zealand

Malú Huacuja del Toro, Mexican writer

James Jackson, MASA (MesoAmerica Solidarity Action), Liverpool, UK

Karla Jiménez Cano, Puebla, Pue., Mexico

Sensei Gregory C. Lewis, US

Ricardo Lagunes Gasca, Mexico, D.F.

Ninón Llano Guibarra, La Paz, Bolivia

Tomas Alberto Madrigal, multi-medios Karani

Vianey Magallón Martínez, Bahía de Banderas, Nayarit, Mexico

Gabriel Magallón Reyes, Bahía de Banderas, Nayarit, Mexico

José Manuel Martín, Zamora, Mich., Mexico

Juan Carlos Marmolejo Álvarez, Coahuayana, Michoacán, Mexico

Gerardo Medina Reyes, Zamora, Michoacán, Mexico

Hector Mejia, Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico

Alejandro Mendoza

Erik Montero Espinosa, Mexico, D.F.

Zeb Moon, Colombia

Verónica Munier, Mexico

Violeta Neponuceno Valencia, Tlapa, Gro., Mexico

Óscar Ojeda, Mexico, D.F

Alin Palacios Fonseca, Guanajuato, Mexico

Eleanor Parry, MASA (MesoAmerica Solidarity Action), Liverpool, UK

Hilda Pérez Alejandre, Querétaro, Qro., Mexico

Alexandra Pita González, Colima, Mexico

Guillermo Popoca Boone, Mexico

Susana Ramírez, Zamora, Mich., Mexico

María de Jesús Ramírez Magallón, Mexico

María Isabel Ramírez Magallón, Mexico

Mónica Cecilia R. Andrade. Puebla, Mexico

José Ramírez Magallón, Mexico

María Refugio Magallón Mejía, Mexico

Rita Robles, Mexico, D.F.

Víctor Romo de Vivar Gayol, Zamora, Mich., Mexico

Gabriela Ruiz Manzur, Copenhagen, Denmark

Haydeé Sánchez, Mexico, DF.

Teresa Santos Durán, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Zeus Tepeyolotl Martinez, Mexico, D.F.

Ana Torres, Mexico, D.F.

Miriam Elizabeth Toscano Dolores, Colima, Col., Mexico

Ana Valadez Ortega

Carolina Valdés, Colima, Col., Mexico

Abraham Eduardo Vallejo Moreno, Colima, Col., Mexico

Irene Vázquez Magallón, Puebla, Pue., Mexico

Alejandra Vázquez Mendoza, Zamora, Michoacán, Mexico

Norma Vázquez Torres, Colima, Col., Mexico

Rosa Villanueva Ramírez, Washington, US

Luisa Villanueva Villalobos, Los Angeles, Ca., US

Julie Webb-Pullman, Gaza City, Palestine

Lourdes Zepeda, Colima, Col., Mexico

Raul Zibechi, Uruguay

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Request for signatures for Bachajón

Jeny Pascacio

Diario de Chiapas

Link to petition

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Social organizations are seeking signatures to defend the people of San Sebastián Bachajón on www.change.org in their case before the Federal Court after it endorsed the dispossession of indigenous ejido lands in Chiapas.

“The judges obey and operate politically for the transnationals and for this reason wecinclude their names, emails and phone numbers, so that from anywhere in the world we can let them know that we are aware of their corruption.”

Since 2011 the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, located in the municipality of Chilón, has conducted a legal battle because the Mexican government has awarded itself ownership of the ejido land in common use where you gain access to the “Agua Azul Waterfalls” Ecotourism Centre, according to the version of villagers.

“The agreement with which they try to give legality to the dispossession of lands in common use was not authorized in the ejido assembly, the highest representative body of the ejido. Faced with such arbitrary decisions, the ejidatarios filed, in March 2011, a petition for amparo 274/2011 before the Seventh District Judge in the State of Chiapas.”

After three cancellations decreed by the Seventh District Judge, on September 29, 2014 the Third Collegiate Court in Tuxtla Gutierrez, to resolve the Amparo in Review 224/2014, overturned the acquittal and asked the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation to review the case due to its legal transcendence.

“The case of Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón reflects the conflicts which gave rise to  the armed uprising of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in 1994, for which reason the Court noted it was appropriate for the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation to resolve the root of the ejido problem, so that thereby the local courts could sit to solve dozens of cases of the same kind in the region on the rights of indigenous peoples.”

Through a press release, they stated that the Third Collegiate Court contradicted their arguments and issued a statement denying the amparo to the ejido, by giving value to the agreement made between the last administration of the state government and the government-supporting then ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón, Francisco Guzmán Jiménez.

Link to petition

http://www.diariodechiapas.com/metropoli/17355-solicitan-firmas-por-bachajon

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Mexican Justice approves land grab in Chiapas

 

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Desinformémonos

Injustice and impunity continues against the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajon, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), who have been fighting a legal battle over the last four years, after the Mexican government transferred the ownership of the ejido lands.

The Third Collegiate Tribunal in Tuxtla Gutierrez referred the case to the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ), but the minister Beatriz Luna proposed to the court to return the case to the Tribunal. In recent days this body of justice denied the ejido’s amparo, and, although this was derived from the amparo, the Third Tribunal ordered all the government authorities of Chiapas not to continue the acts of dispossession; the decision to recuperate the land on 21st December last was due in part to the legal foundation that was given them in advance of the judgement on their rights.

Despite the strong repression and harassment, the ejidatarios maintain their position of continuing with their actions. On 9th January at least 900 members of the federal and state police evicted them from the lands which had been recovered since 21st December. On 19th March, ejidatarios adherents were victims of dispossession and the burning down of the offices where they shared information, taught workshops for the community and collected contributions from tourists entering the waterfalls of Agua Azul.

San Sebastián Bachajón is one of the largest ejidos in Mexico with 70,000 hectares, it is an area of ​​high biodiversity and natural beauty, where political interests have looked for tourism investment. This land is rich in natural resources, green forest, wildlife and water. The waterfalls of Agua Azul are among the greatest attractions of Chiapas state; in certain seasons they acquire a turquoise hue that makes them even more attractive for foreign tourists.

In 2007, the ejidatarios became part of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, and made the decision to exercise their right to self-determination as a people. They then erected a tollbooth on their territory, so that tourists who wanted to visit the waterfalls of Agua Azul would pay a fee. With the money collected, they decided in assembly, they would support sick ejidatarios and the most needy families, explains the journalist Gloria Muñoz in her opinion column in the newspaper La Jornada.

In March 2011, Juan Sabines Guerrero, former governor of Chiapas, put on the table the representatives of the ejido Bachajón, those from the area of ​​Agua Azul and his entire government Cabinet, and signed agreement no 274 whereby the two peoples supposedly pledged to donate the lands to the state to establish a single toll booth. This left the state as administrator of the road through the Ministry of Finance of Chiapas and the Commission of Natural Protected Areas of the federal government, when the surface area of ​​Agua Azul was not even in this category.

After more than four years of tireless struggle to defend their territory, the San Sebastián Bachajon ejidatarios have resisted even though two of their main leaders were assassinated, many of its inhabitants have been imprisoned and tortured; and six of them are still deprived of their freedom.

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Communiqué From San Sebastián Bachajón 11th April 2015

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FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJÓN, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 11th APRIL 2015

To the General Command of the Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee of the Zapatista National Liberation Army

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world

By this means we allow ourselves to communicate and to inform in advance all the compañeros and compañeras of the organizations that are in the struggle and the resistance of the land, that on 24th April this year the commemoration will be held of the late Juan Vázquez Guzmán, recalling his dignified struggle in San Sebastián Bachajon, Chiapas. The event will be held at the family home and there will be a Mass starting at 3:00 pm.

We give this invitation to everyone who wants to participate.

We thank you in advance for your understanding and your presence on that date.

From the northern zone of the state of Chiapas, the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón send our combative greetings.

Never again a Mexico without us

Land and Freedom! Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

Immediate presentation of the disappeared compañeros from Ayotzinapa!

JUSTICE FOR AYOTZINAPA, ACTEAL, ABC, ATENCO!

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Bachajón, a chronicle of destruction at the hands of the Chiapas government

On March 21, 600 members of the public security forces burned down the regional headquarters of our compañeros, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, from the rebel ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón, located a few meters from the toll booth of the National Commission for Protected Natural Areas for the Agua Azul waterfalls, in the northern jungle of the state of Chiapas. That same day, in the afternoon, compañeros from the free media collectives Kolectivo Zero and Koman Ilel were attacked while doing documentation work about the events, by ejidatarios who are affiliated to political parties, in the presence of the security forces.

This is a clear strategy of the capitalist system, to plunder the land to satisfy its economic interests. The government of Mexico has sold its territory piece by piece to transnationals, and we see clearly their ways of carrying out these projects of death in three stages, which are: the sale of land, dispossession and plunder.

The sale of Mexican territory has been going on for a long time through their meetings, summits and forums, such as NAFTA, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change or the Mesoamerica Project, where despite their various masks and speeches about development and progress, all they do is to share out the natural resources of the earth.

The dispossession of territory is applied through different strategies such as the welfare programmes of the bad governments which seek to destroy in all areas their worst enemy, which is “Autonomy;” a first step in this plan of dispossession is to parcel out ejido land won in the Mexican Revolution, through plans of counterinsurgency and paramilitaries; this immediately breaks the traditional organising customs of the original peoples, turning them towards individual rather than communal ways of life, or through means of an education that is based on preparing children and young people to serve the capitalist system. In the countryside, these programmes which are provided firstly involve GMOs, making the land in the best cases become dependent on these chemicals, and in the worst cases become infertile, thus transnationals or to give a more specific example, Monsanto, can afford to hoard, patent and control the production of food; it is important to mention that this is a circular deal because these chemicals cause diseases that force people to consume pharmaceutical drugs, moving away more and more from their traditional medicines such as herbal treatments, which connect directly with Mother Earth and often have a lot to do with their cosmology.

These are just some very general examples of the attack from the capitalist system towards indigenous peoples, it is necessary to dig deeper into each of these projects of death to identify a better collective resistance strategy for the salvation of the original peoples, who are the foundation of the existence of mankind in terms of living well. In our history we can see that if people become aware and resist all this, the state’s response is immediate repression, imprisonment, torture and death. Those from above do not care about the existence of peoples who resist and defend their traditional ways of life, uses and customs, and they make every effort to hand over the natural resources to extractive transnationals, so that later they can plunder freely, so as to destroy all autonomy and reduce human beings to just being a workforce in the service of big capital.

San Sebastián Bachajón, also a member of the Indigenous National Congress, like many other peoples, is aware of this situation of dispossession and death, so they have resisted and continue to resist, our compañeros do not need anyone to come from outside to tell them how to care for the mother earth, they have done so throughout history, and therefore they have been a target of interest for the bad governments who only look to the earth for its monetary value; our Tseltal compañeros work every day not only to maintain their autonomy, but also to build a world where many worlds fit, the Spanish name of our compañeros’ destroyed headquarters is “Where those from above destroy, those from below reconstruct” (the name of the first international festival of rebellion and resistance against capitalism, convened by the EZLN and CNI), a name that is entirely in accord with their history of struggle.

http://kolectivozero.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/el-pasado-21-de-marzo-600-elementos-de.html

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Communiqué from San Sebastián Bachajón 10th April 2015

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FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJÓN, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 10th APRIL 2015

To the General Command of the Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee of the Zapatista National Liberation Army

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world

Icha spatil a wotanik ta ha pisilik jmololabex, ants winiketik macha`tik nokòl skoltabel slum skinalik, lìh ya jkabeyexkoyik ta nael jkoopkotik yuun te jkoltabel te jkinalkotik sok ya jna`kotik te skuxlejal jmololkotik Emiliano Zapata te laj yak skuxlejal yuun te skinal sok skotayel slumal.

Greetings to all the compañeros, women and men who are in the struggle for the land, here we share our word on the defence of the land and recall the memory of our General Emiliano Zapata who gave his life for land and freedom for the peoples.

We continue in struggle against the politics of the murderering, thieving and corrupt bad government which does not like our organization, so it burned the San Sebastián regional headquarters with support from Alejandro Moreno Gómez, ejidal Commissioner and the security adviser Samuel Diaz Guzman, together with 600 Chiapas state police; and also on 9th April there came to the community of Xanil the Agrarian Procurator of Ocosingo, with lic. Juan René and the Undersecretary of Yajalón whose surname is Alpuche, adviser to the paramilitaries of Paz y Justicia, where they had a meeting with the members of the PRI-green parties followers of Alejandro Moreno Gomez, to seek agreement on how to put an end to our organization because they say they no longer want to have this organization in the community, because they like to be with the government and its lackeys and minions, handing over the land, despising autonomy and the life of the peoples.

It makes us angry to see how these bad ejidal representatives feel themselves to be owners of the ejido and sell their dignity for crumbs. Our organization knows that the bad government’s mouth is watering at all the natural resources of our territory, so it is looking to make division among us in order to kill us and send us to prison, where the people are the only losers and the government and their national and foreign businesses are the winners because they dispossess the land.

We have had it up to here with this bloody government looking to fuck us over, but the people will not remain silent and will defend whatever the cost, we do not want this bad government to carry on abusing the people, deceiving the people and making fun of the people, the bad government should die, SO SHOULD PEÑA NIETO AND HIS PUPPET VELASCO COELLO.

We understand that the Third Appellate Court of Tuxtla Gutierrez denied our amparo 274/2011, which was started in March 2011, because value was given to the agreement signed by the PRI with the thief of Juan Sabines Guerrero and the judges of the court said that the agreement respects the human rights of the community and that is for their benefit. These judges are traitors to the fatherland, corrupt and racist, they sold themselves to the government so as to continue sitting on their arses in their big offices, big cars and white houses like the one peña nieto has, because they do not care about the people.

There is no democracy and no law in this country hijacked by the bloody corrupt politicians, let them all go away, the people must wake up and fight to defend the lands, dignity and life. Our organization will continue to defend our Mother Earth in honour of our grandfathers and grandmothers who taught us how to defend it and as it was defended by the compañeros Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano.

We demand the immediate release of political prisoners in Mexico and the World and of our imprisoned compañeros Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano, Roberto Gómez Hernández, Santiago Moreno Perez, Emilio Jimenez Gomez and Esteban Gomez Jimenez.

Lih ta ya`hkolal slum kinal chiapas, ants winiketik yuun San Sebastian Bachajon yaj jtikonbeyex cotik spatil a wotanik ta pisilik.

From the northern zone of the state of Chiapas, the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón send our combative greetings.

Mayuk bin hora jun mexico, te me mayukonkotike`

Never again a Mexico without us

Land and Freedom! Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

Immediate presentation of the disappeared compañeros from Ayotzinapa!

Long live the dignified struggle of our Chol compañeros and compañeras of the ejido Tila!

JUSTICE FOR AYOTZINAPA, ACTEAL, ABC, ATENCO!

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Zapatista Sympathizers Chased From Land Slated For Tourism Megaproject

A painted banner portrays three Zapatista civilians killed by paramilitaries. It reads "The Struggle in Bachajon Continues!" The banner was hung in CIDECI, an autonomous university for indigenous and rural peoples in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. The closing events for the Global Festival of Resistance and Rebellion Against Capitalism were held at CIDECI with the participation of the families of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa and the National Indigenous Congress (CNI).

A painted banner portrays three Zapatista civilians killed by paramilitaries. It reads “The Struggle in Bachajon Continues!” The banner was hung in CIDECI, an autonomous university for indigenous and rural peoples in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. The closing events for the Global Festival of Resistance and Rebellion Against Capitalism were held at CIDECI with the participation of the families of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa and the National Indigenous Congress (CNI).

Video From The Women Of San Sebastián Bachajón For International Womens’ Day

The women of the ejido  San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the  Lacandon Jungle,  who struggle for the mother earth, on International Womens’ Day ask that all police leave their territory and that their rights are respected; they also send greetings to all the compañeras and compañeros who have been in solidarity with the struggle of San Sebastián Bachajón,

Viva the Dignified Struggle of Women!

Viva Zapata!

Viva the Zapatistas!

Viva Comandanta Ramona!

 

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The Agua Azul Dispute

By Orsetta Bellani
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From their vehicles, tourists stared in awe at the hooded Tzeltal indigenous people, who were sat on the edge of the road that leads to the Agua Azul waterfalls. Their machetes and facemasks were incongruous with the image of a quiet earthly paradise that is promoted by the state government of Chiapas.

The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) sympathizers from San Sebastián Bachajón were charging tolls and distributing flyers to the tourists. In a statement, they explained their Dec. 21, 2014 decision to retake control of the portion of their ejido (communally-owned land) where the toll booth for access to the waterfalls is located.

“The comisariado ejidal (the ejido administrative official) Alejandro Moreno Gómez does not provide information about the money that comes from paying at the entry or the gravel bank. We want to appoint someone else who can manage the resources that are ours,” explained an ejido member to Latinamerica Press.

On Jan. 9, the farmers were evicted by government order and then, while they were blocking the road, they were attacked by agents of the State Police who fired at them for about 20 minutes. Two people were injured.

In a further attempt to intimidate the residents, on Mar. 21, 600 troops of the public forces, which respond to the orders of Moreno Gómez, according to the ejido members, burned the ejido regional headquarters in San Juan Bajachón, built by the adherents to the EZLN Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle (2005) — a statement against the capitalism that “turns everything into merchandise, turns people, nature, culture, history, conscience into merchandise” — near the waterfalls.

“Is demonstrated again the policy of death and corruption of a bad government, its contempt for the people and human rights, because of his ambition on our territory to strip the land, water and everything that exists in our country to make money as if these are merchandise,” denounced the residents.

Attacks against common landowners

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Few tourists know that Agua Azul, the location of the beautiful turquoise waterfalls amidst wild vegetation, is one of the most contentious areas of Chiapas. In 2008 the US tourism consulting firms EDSA and Norton Consulting recommended to government authorities to ensure that visitors feel safe and protected in the region.

“The Zapatista movement is still strongly associated with Chiapas,” wrote the consulting firms in a document on the development strategy for the construction of a luxury hotel in the area. “Chiapas is still considered unsafe by many who are not familiar with the region.”

Three years later, on Feb. 2, 2011, 17 tourists who were in Agua Azul had to leave the area by air. That day a pro-government shock troop attacked the Zapatista sympathizers who were managing the toll booth. Subsequently there was a clash that killed a member of the assault troops, Marcos Moreno García, while state and federal police, supported by army troops, arrested 117 sympathizers.

“We have no problems with the owners of the restaurants that are in the area that is part of the Tumbalá Municipality. But here, where the toll booth is, is our territory, and the money belongs to us,” stated Juan Vázquez Guzmán, leader of the supporters of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle (2005) of San Sebastián Bachajón, on June 2012, to Latinamerica Press.

Less than a year later, Vázquez Guzmán, who was 32 years old and had two children, was murdered outside his home with six shots. A similar fate occurred to his friend Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, who was shot 20 times in an ambush on Mar. 21, 2014.

Six months after the death of Gómez Silvano, three Bachajón ejido members were arrested and tortured with the charge of attempted murder of a uniformed officer, a charge based only on police officers’ testimony. “Their detention was revenge for having sought justice for our friend Juan Carlos,” denounced Domingo Pérez, spokesman for the Zapatista sympathizers of San Sebastián Bachajón, at a press conference in Sep. 2014.

What is disputed in Agua Azul is more than the control of the money charged for entering the area. Since 2000, the government has been planning to build a theme park on the banks of the waterfalls, which would be part of the Palenque-Agua Azul Waterfalls Integrally Planned Center (CIP), an infrastructure network planned as part of the Mesoamerica Project — the new name of former Puebla Panama Plan that promotes regional integration and development and coordinates the efforts and actions of the nine states that make up the Southeast region of Mexico, the seven countries of Central America, Colombia and the Dominican Republic — which the government hopes will transform Chiapas to a new Cancun.

Chiapas, the new Cancun?

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According to former State Senator for the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) María Elena Orantes López, the CIP would generate revenues of US$6.8 billion per year. 30,000 jobs would be created for the indigenous communities in the area, but they would “not participate in management positions, but with their labor,” as Roberto Albores Gleason, the former Secretary of Tourism of Chiapas, stated in 2008.

The firms EDSA and Norton Consulting recommended the former governor of Chiapas Juan Sabines Guerrero — who ended his term in 2012 — to finalize the acquisition of the land adjacent to the waterfalls before attracting investments. The construction of the new electrical network that will support the project is already finished, foreseen in the 2007-2012 Institutional Program of the Chiapas Secretariat of Tourism. The plan included the relocation of indigenous communities from six municipalities in the area, opposed by the support bases of the EZLN and its sympathizers.

The CIP also plans other projects, such as the construction of a new international airport in the city of Palenque, which opened in February 2014, and a superhighway between this ancient Mayan city and San Cristóbal de Las Casas. The government says that the 105-miles highway will benefit all surrounding communities, although much of the population is against the project because of the environmental damage that it would cause and because the true purpose of the highway is to accelerate the plundering of Chiapas’s resources.

In 2009, the government was forced to suspend the highway construction plan due to popular opposition, particularly from the Mitzitón community, which was victim to the violence of the paramilitary group Army of God. After five years, in 2014, technicians came back to take measurements on land that is in the path of the alleged highway, and the villagers were summoned to meetings with government officials to discuss the highway. However, the superhighway and theme park projects in Agua Azul are an enigma; they appear and disappear from official documents.

“The government does not want to provide adequate information to the communities so they do not know the extent of the damages. It does not give details because it knows that it will have a very strong social opposition,” says Ricardo Lagunes, attorney for the communal landowners of San Sebastian Bachajón, to Latinamerica Press.

Last January the ejido members of Mitzitón, following the example of communal landowners of Los Llanos (Municipality of San Cristóbal de Las Casas), filed a precautionary measure to prevent the construction of the highway. Subsequently, the authorities denied their intention to build the highway. However, the 2014-2018 National Infrastructure Program estimates an investment of 10 billion pesos ($644 million) for the construction of the highway between San Cristóbal de Las Casas and Palenque, and 1.2 billion pesos ($82 million) for “CIP support projects.”

http://www.eurasiareview.com/06042015-mexico-the-agua-azul-dispute/

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The CNI’s Position on the Wave of Repression Waged against the People

cniTo the original peoples of Mexico and the World;

To the National and International Sixth;

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation;

And to the memory of Don Félix Serdán Nájera, our leading brother.

Gathered in the Amatlán de Quetzalzoatl community in the Tepoztlán municipality of Morelos, the peoples and tribes that make up the National Indigenous Congress [CNI] have analysed the repressive wave which has been launched against us by the narco-capitalist governors who seek to take control of our homelands.

We wish to make clear first of all that the aforementioned onslaught has nothing to do with the party colours that govern from above, nor with the way in which they have been elected or imposed upon us. For, in short, each political party in government simply administrates the dispossession ordered from higher up the chain of command. Therefore, the government’s repressive wave also has nothing to do with the electoral lie that they call democracy, which is essentially no more than a reflex of the decomposition at the core of the bloody system that is neoliberal capitalism, or with the so-called ‘structural reforms’ that it spawns, which are imposed at the expense of the well-being, freedom, and livelihoods of the suffering peoples of both the countryside and the cities.

In reality, the brutally oppressive offensive carried out against our peoples by the Bad Government has come as a response to our decision to continue with our determined resistance, which hopes to safeguard life in the face of a vicious war of extermination. In other words, it is not simply an example of political persecution but a manifestation of reactionary distress from those governing from above who design elaborately violent operations in order to consolidate their economic interests, which are based on exploitation, dispossession, repression, and disdain. And, as we will outline below, this reaction has come in a number of different forms:

  • First of all, we still feel today the absence of the 46 comrades from the Raúl Isidro Burgos teacher training college in Ayotzinapa who were killed or disappeared on the orders of the three levels of the Bad Government, and on behalf of all of the political parties, which have turned terror into a business and a means of governing. However, while the criminal State bets on oblivion, the peoples of Mexico bet on reconstruction, and on neither forgetting nor forgiving those responsible for the crimes committed against the People. For what is at play is the past and the future – which both belong to us.
  • We also remember how the repressive forces of the Bad Government have tried to dispossess the Tzeltal community of San Sebastián Bachajón, in the Chilón municipality of Chiapas, of the Agua Azul waterfalls, which they have hoped to hand over to capitalist interests. In fact, on March 21 of this year, more than six hundred members of government security forces burned down the San Sebastián regional headquarters. Furthermore, the comrades of San Sebastián and the free press, which has stood by them in solidarity with their struggle have been assaulted frequently by public security forces while the state police and Mexican army have also escalated their occupation operations in the territory, in support of the paramilitary groups present there.
  • The Nahua community of Santa María Ostula on the coast of Michoacán, meanwhile, has faced attacks from groups thought to be both linked to organised crime and in cahoots with each level of the Bad Government. The cost of this onslaught has been the disappearance of five community members and the murder of thirty-two more. Additionally, on March 16, 2015, the Mexican Navy tried to dislodge and disarm the community police that had controlled a checkpoint on the main coastal road near the settlement of Xayakalan since recovering the territory in 2009. In response to the government attack, the community closed the road, aware of the fact that disarmament would mean handing their territories over to narco-paramilitary groups and exposing themselves to further dispossession, which would pave the way for the megaprojects of death like mining, multinational tourism, and drug trafficking. And all of this, of course, is both defended and sponsored by all three levels of the Bad Government.
  • At the same time, our comrades Mario Luna and Fernando Jiménez in Sonora, who are the spokespeople of the Yaqui tribe, remain in prison. The reason for their imprisonment is that they stand accused of having committed serious crimes which have been fabricated by forces that refuse to recognise the ancestral forms of organisation and traditional government of the Yaqui people. Furthermore, an arrest warrant is still out on Tomás Rojo, which represents an attempt to use division and treachery as a mechanism of war, and Lauro Baumea has received numerous death threats in addition to actual attempts on his life. In fact, the latter has also had his vehicle burnt outside of his house, and his family members’ lives are also said to be at risk. And all of this criminal activity has simply sought to ensure the trouble-free robbery of the water of the River Yaqui.
  • Likewise, the Loxicha comrades in the State of Oaxaca ,who were kidnapped eighteen years ago by the Bad Government as part of its terrorist and counterrevolutionary policies aimed at protecting large multinational mining projects, also continue to find themselves in prison. Similarly, the Nahua brothers of San Pedro Tlanixco in the State of Mexico have been in prison for twelve years for having defended their water supplies against the capitalist theft of the precious resource for large agro-industrial complexes.
  • Meanwhile, the dispossession of communities and ejidos in the states of Morelos, Puebla, and Tlaxcala through the so-called ‘Proyecto Integral Morelos’ (PIM) is still being accompanied by a widespread persecution of the peoples of the Popocatépetl volcano who are opposed to the planned handover of their territory, security, and water to multinational corporations, which seek in turn to build roads, aqueducts, gas pipelines, and thermoelectric plants – all with the protection of the Bad Government’s forces of repression. In fact, there are currently numerous arrest warrants out against those who have dared to raise their voices against the destruction that has arrived along with the police and army officers protecting the machinery, as has recently been seen with the pipelining of the River Cuautla, where the thermoelectric plant of Huexca was supported to the detriment of the ejidos of the Ayala municipality.
  • We also empathise with the San Francisco Xochicuautla community in the State of Mexico, whose fight against the construction of a private motorway, which would see them dispossessed of their own territory, has even seen them lose the freedom to speak in their own communal assemblies, which have been occupied by dozens of riot police officers seeking to consolidate the capitalist takeover of the land.
  • In addition to all of these cases of resistance against dispossession, thousands more of our comrades have migrated elsewhere in order to survive, with many of them arriving at concentration camps like that of San Quintín in Baja California Sur, where they are exploited and treated like slaves. In this case in particular, for example, the different levels of the Bad Government have supported plantation owners by repressing workers’ mobilisations, which have demanded better working conditions for the thousands of day labourers employed there – most of whom are of indigenous origin.

We are convinced that, in order to stop this war against our communities, slogans are not enough. Nor, we believe, are the calendars, geographies, and techniques of those governing or hypothesising from above adequate for bringing about change. Instead, we consider that we need to forge a new country, and a new world. And the powerful are aware that we know about the need for the construction of a new global system from the grassroots up.

In fact, it is precisely because the Bad Government understands our revolutionary position that it has stepped up its military harassment of the Zapatista Caracoles of La Realidad and Oventik, bolstered by the paramilitary aggressions carried out by groups it has fostered, financed, and trained, like Pojcol, the CIOAC-H, and ORCAO, who have been carrying out a campaign of systematic violence against the Zapatista bases of support in an attempt to destroy their autonomous forms of organisation, which, with their roots in the ancient cultures of our original peoples, brighten up the horizon with a civilizational hope.

Therefore, with all of the aforementioned points considered, we declare that:

  1. We will not stop fighting for the reconstruction and reconstitution of our original peoples, because that is a struggle for both life and survival.
  2. We will intensify our battle for the freedom of all political prisoners, for the presentation of the disappeared, and for justice for those who have been murdered.
  3. The repressive wave in progress is a response to our relentless resistance against dispossession, which is ancient and unnegotiable.
  4. We will continue the possible and necessary task of weaving a new world from below and to the left, because only in this way will peace shine down upon our peoples and end the incessant repression that plagues us.
  5. We welcome the realisation of a homage to the comrades Luis Villoro Toranzo and the Zapatista teacher Galeano, which will take place in the Oventik Caracol in Chiapas on May 2, 2015.

For the Total Reconstitution of Our Peoples!

Never Again a Mexico without Us!

The National Indigenous Congress

Amatlán de Quetzalcoatl, Tepoztlán, Morelos

March 22, 2015

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Translated by Oso Sabio

 



 

Communiqué from San Sebastián Bachajón 23rd March 2015

FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJÓN, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 23rd MARCH 2015

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To the General Command of the Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee of the Zapatista National Liberation Army

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world

The support by the bad government for the paramilitary leaders Alejandro Moreno Gomez ejidal commissioner and the security consultant Samuel Diaz Guzman can be clearly seen when, on 21st March last, after they had set fire to the regional headquarters of San Sebastián, they verbally and physically assaulted a compañera and a compañero from the free media who had come with courage and dignity to document human rights violations by the bad federal and state government.

We reject the attacks on our compañera and compañero from the free media, and we hold the paramilitary chiefs Enrique Peña Nieto and Manuel Velasco Coello responsible for any other aggressions attempted against the free media and women and men of our organization.

Enough of so much abuse and corruption in order dispossess our people of the land and water, we will not allow it, we are not defeated, our struggle and resistance is for all of life and no matter if the government comes to sow terror and destruction, those from below will reconstruct as we were taught by our grandparents who also fought the lords of money and power.

From the northern zone of the state of Chiapas, the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón send our combative greetings.

Never again a Mexico without us

Land and Freedom! Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

Immediate presentation of the disappeared compañeros from Ayotzinapa!

JUSTICE FOR AYOTZINAPA, ACTEAL, ABC, ATENCO!



 

Communiqué from San Sebastián Bachajón 21st March 2015

Public Forces burn down regional headquarters

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FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJÓN, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 21st MARCH 2015

To the General Command of the Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee of the Zapatista National Liberation Army

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world

 

Compañeros and compañeras, we denounce that today, March 21, 2015 at around 8 o’clock in the morning more than 600 members of the public forces burned down our San Sebastián regional headquarters with the participation of the ejidal Commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gomez and the Security Adviser Samuel Díaz Guzmán. Once again the politics of death and the corruption of the bad government are demonstrated, and its contempt for the people and human rights because it seeks to achieve its ambition to get hold of our territory through the dispossession of the land, the water and everything that exists in our country, as if it were merchandise, in order to gain money.

We hold the paramilitary chiefs peña nieto and manuel velasco responsible for the violence in San Sebastián Bachajón and for the human rights violations, death and repression of women and men in our organization who do not sell their dignity in exchange for their crumbs.

We reject the tricks of the bad government to malign our struggle and fabricate crimes [and attribute them] to the organization which is defending the mother earth. Together with Alejandro Moreno Gómez the ejidal Commissioner and the Security Adviser Samuel Díaz Guzmán, they set up a roadblock on the road from Ocosingo to Palenque at the high point at the turning to agua azul in order to blame our organization for blocking the road, and also these lackeys of the bad government are cutting down trees and we know that they are fabricating crimes of ecocide so they can arrest the autonomous authorities of our organization.

We disclaim [any link to] these actions organized and supported by the bad government, together with the ejidal commissioner, they are only looking for a way to bend the law so they can put us in prison and dispossess us of our territory for transnational projects which only benefit those from above. After the violent eviction of January 9, 2015, we in our organization established the San Sebastián regional headquarters to continue caring for the land and to demand the withdrawal of bad government, this is where we will continue because we are the original peoples of these lands and we will not allow the bad government to come to command the people.

We remember today with dignified rage that it is a year since the killing of our compañero Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, coordinator of the organization in the community of Virgen de Dolores, and next month will mark two years since the killing of our compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán, secretary general of our organization, in whose memory the struggle in San Sebastián Bachajón continues.

We demand the withdrawal of public forces and of the national commission for protected natural areas from our lands, dispossessed since February 2011.

We demand freedom for our political prisoners Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández and of the unjustly imprisoned compañeros Santiago Moreno Perez, Emilio Jimenez Gomez and Esteban Gomez Jimenez.

From the northern zone of the state of Chiapas, the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón send our combative greetings.

Never again a Mexico without us

Attentively

Land and Freedom! Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

Immediate presentation of the disappeared compañeros from Ayotzinapa!

JUSTICE FOR AYOTZINAPA, ACTEAL, ABC, ATENCO!




600 members of the public forces burn down the regional

headquarters of San Sebastian Bachajón

 bachajon6

“Compañeros and compañeras, we denounce that today March 21, 2015 at 8 o’clock in the morning more than 600 members of the public forces burned our regional headquarters known as San Sebastián, with the participation of the ejidal Commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez and the Security Adviser Samuel Díaz Guzmán. Once again the politics of death and the corruption of the bad government are demonstrated, and its contempt for the people and human rights because it seeks to achieve its ambition to get hold of our territory through the dispossession of the land, the water and everything that exists in our country, in order to gain money, as if it were merchandise.

We hold the paramilitary chiefs peña nieto and manuel velasco responsible for the violence in San Sebastián Bachajón and for the human rights violations, death and repression of women and men in our organization who do not sell their dignity in exchange for their crumbs.”

Adherents to the Sixth, ejido San Sebastián Bachajón

 


 


Bachajón reports new threat of dispossession

bachajon16

March 20, 2015

The compañeros of the ejido San Sebastian Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, report that the roadblock conducted by political party supporters at the turning to the waterfalls of Agua Azul, which started on 17th March, is continuing; now it is the people of Commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez (ejidal Commissioner) and Samuel Díaz Guzmán (vigilance councillor) who are in charge of this.

The ejidatarios informed us by telephone that the Commissioner is organizing his people to evict the compañeros from San José en Rebeldia and from the  “San Sebastian” Regional  Headquarters, land recuperated by the compañeros of San Sebastián Bachajón.

The compañeros will not give up the struggle for the defence of their land and territory and for the release of their prisoners.

We ask that you remain aware of the situation of the compañeros.

http://kolectivozero.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/denuncia-bachajon-nueva-amenaza-de.html

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Ejido Bachajón warns of possible attempt to displace them.

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Chilón, Chiapas, March 20. Tzeltal indigenous from the ejido San Sebastian Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration, again disclaim any links with the roadblock at the turning to the Agua Azul waterfalls on the Ocosingo-Palenque highway. They state that it is the people of the ruling ejidal Commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez, and Samuel Díaz Guzmán (vigilance councillor) who are in charge of the blockade.

The ejidatarios reported that Moreno Gómez is organizing his people to evict the ejidatarios from San José en Rebeldia and from the “San Sebastian” Regional Headquarters, land recuperated by the indigenous of Bachajón.

Adherents to the Sixth make it clear that they will not give up the struggle to defend their land and territory and for the release of their prisoners, and ask people to remain aware of the situation of their members, via Kolektivo Zero.

In the same way, commercial dailies report that “at any time, an armed confrontation is expected between opposing groups that are in dispute over the area,” which could lead, as on previous occasions, to government repression. e.g. From Quinto Poder: “Armed group hinders tourism transport and is on the point of a confrontation. Tourism businesses on the Ruta Maya report that at this time, near the Agua Azul Waterfalls, heavily armed people, allegedly Zapatistas, have blocked the road with the aim of recovering 100% of the territory, so they are delaying any vehicle which drives through the area. The conflict, which has lasted for years and has intensified in recent months, is known of by the Government Secretary, Eduardo Ramirez, who has done nothing about it and who has answered repeatedly that he has instructions from the Governor Manuel Velasco Coello not to intervene in the indigenous areas. An armed confrontation is expected at any moment between opposing groups who are disputing the area, which is one of the attractions of our state to national and international tourism.” https://www.facebook.com/mxQuintopoder/photos/a.659347497429276.1073741841.657066724324020/921659737864716/?type=1&theater

http://www.pozol.org/?p=10418

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San Sebastián Bachajon Disclaims Any Links With The Roadblock On March 17 And Denounces Attacks

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San Cristobal de las Casas, March 17, 2015

Ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, inform us that today, March 17, political party supporters from the community of Suquil Ulub carried out a roadblock at the turning to the waterfalls of Agua Azul, the compañeros adherents denied having any part in this.

They denounced that in recent days they have been attacked by the party supporters. Today in the morning, two compañeros ejidatarios who were carrying out their guard duties were beaten.

They hold Alejandro Moreno Gomez, Samuel Diaz Guzman and the three levels of government responsible for the attacks and for what may happen.

San Sebastian Bachajón continues to demand the release of their prisoners and continues in resistance in defence of its ancestral territory.

The compañeros asked people to be attentive to the situation in the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón.

 

http://kolectivozero.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/san-sebastian-bachajon-se-deslinda-de.html

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Call for screenings of a New Video:

“The Dignified Resistance of San Sebastián Bachajón Continues” 

This initiative is supported by the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón

URGENT NEW VIDEOMESSAGE FROM SAN SEBASTIÁN BACHAJÓN

 Greetings Compas

So that we can jointly continue to show solidarity with the dignified struggle of their community in Chiapas, Mexico, we are asking people of good heart to organize screenings of this new video made by Springfield No One Leaves and the Committee of the True Word of Alisal. The video is in Spanish with English subtitles, and is approximately 8 minutes long. In the video, the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón send a special videomessage in which they make an urgent call for solidarity.

The video tells of more than six years of struggle by the adherents to the Sixth Declaration from San Sebastián Bachajón against dispossession and in defense of their communal lands. During this time, two of their leaders, Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, have been murdered, and 120 people have been imprisoned. Most of these prisoners are now free, thanks to national and international solidarity, but three political prisoners remain in prison.

Focusing on the continuing dignified resistance of the people of San Sebastián Bachajón, the video features the events surrounding their recuperation, on 21st December 2014, of their lands which had been stolen by the bad government, the violent eviction of members of the community by state and federal forces on 9th January, 2015, and the ongoing intermittent roadblock. Since then, the compañer@s have founded a new regional headquarters called “Región San Sebastián” near the Agua Azul junction. Currently, the regional headquarters is at serious risk of eviction. The film ends with a tribute to the great fighter for justice Juan Vázquez Guzmán. 

The video can be downloaded here:

https://vivabachajon.wordpress.com/videos/

To organize a screening, please contact:

movementforjusticeinelbarrio@gmail.com

For more information see the Bachajón website:

https://vivabachajon.wordpress.com/  

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URGENT: Ejidatarios from the PRI and police officers enter the liberated ejido lands

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Ejidatarios from the PRI, guarded by several police cars and trucks of the state police, have entered in recent days the area of Agua Azul where the organized ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón are to be found. According to their affirmation, there are threats of eviction and they are aware that an ambush is being prepared to evict the Regional Headquarters and displace the ejidatarios from the recuperated area which belongs to the ejido of San Sebastián.

The first intrusion took place last February 19 at 9 am, when about 45 officialists (pro-government,) party members, and people from the ejidal commission of Alejandro Moreno Gómez came to Agua Azul guarded by several police cars. They gained access to Agua Azul by the Pinquinteel turning in the municipality of Tumbalá, and by the Saquil.Ulub turning in the ejido of San Sebastián. Once there, they intimidated and threatened the compañer@s who are guarding the San Sebastián Regional Headquarters and those who are charging entrance fees to Agua Azul.

The commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gomez insisted on making arrangements to collect [the toll] together with the independent ejidatarios from Agua Azul in Tumbalá. But they denied that CONANP has again become the administrator of the natural resources and the income they generate.  Having failed to reach any agreement, the party supporters withdrew along with state, municipal and judicial police at 4pm.

On February 20, the party supporters returned, entered again and set up camp on the land which was dispossessed in 2011, guarded by 3 state trucks.

Construction of crimes

DSCN0678-web-200x150Another form of repression and harassment being suffered by the ejidatarios adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle is by the legal and media path through the construction of crimes. The main accusation that they receive is that of being the authors of the assaults that occur on the stretch of road between Ocosingo and Palenque. Already several ejidatarios have been imprisoned on charges of robbery and assault, and it appears that the municipal government plans to charge them again so as to be able to issue arrest warrants as a result of some events which occurred on 17th January.

On 17th January three attackers were arrested on the section of the highway between Ocosingo and Palenque. These offenders have been known to the police who patrol this section for the last four years. In spite of this, in the prosecution district Selva Palenque, Juan Alvaro Moreno from Xanil is negotiating their release. As the organized ejidatarios explain, it is intended to blame the adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle for the crimes committed by these criminals, telling the population and the tourists that the “hooded ones” are the attackers.

By referring in this way to the ejidatarios adherents to the Sixth, the police seek to create confusion and fear to divide the population.

The media are also complicit in this strategy of governments and big businesses to criminalize the independent ejidatarios and the adherents to the Sixth. Through various media campaigns in which they emphasize the uncertainty on the highway, making a direct associated between the roadblocks and the attacks, they are justifying a supposed security plan. This plan was coordinated between the General Secretariat of Government, the security and the law enforcement agencies and was introduced on 6th February. Its application means the introduction of more police units in to the area between Ocosingo and Palenque.

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Opinion

It is not valid to incriminate the Zapatistas [supporters] for the crimes committed on this stretch of the highway, because their struggle is against the dispossession of their lands. Some years ago the compañer@s even collaborated in the arrests of these attackers because few people live in this stretch, and the risk they pose to the security of the municipalities is well known. As an organization they should not be held responsible for these criminals because what they seek is justice.

http://komanilel.org/2015/02/21/urgente-ejidatarios-priistastas-y-policias-entran-en-las-tierras-ejidales-liberadas/

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In San Sebastián Bachajón The  Struggle For Life And Territory Continues: Autonomy, Resistance And Organization.

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Ejidatarios from the PRI threaten to evict the new Regional Headquarters

After several years, the conflict in San Sebastián Bachajón has reached a moment of high tension. On the one hand, ejidatarios both adherents to Sixth and independents, hold their positions in the area of ​​Agua Azul, defend the territory from the new Regional Headquarters of Bachajón and demand the formal resignation of the old government-supporting (officialist) commissioner. On the other hand, the national government keeps public forces in the area and supports the ejidatarios co-opted by the PRI who threaten to evict the Regional Headquarters.

Independent ejidatarios and adherents to the sixth depose the officialist commissioner

acta-de-asamblea-EjidatariosBachajOn-375x500After several assemblies held in the centres of population of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, the ejidatarios from the three centres met together in an assembly held on 7thFebruary 7 outside the ejido house of San Sebastián Bachajón. In this assembly it was agreed to dismiss the officialist ejido commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez, and Samuel Díaz Guzmán, president of the vigilance council, for the mismanagement of economic and natural resources, and their formal resignation was demanded. In their place, the ejidatarios declared representatives from each population centre of the ejido: Chich, Alan Sacjun and Bachajón.

The minutes of the meeting were given to the governor of Chiapas, Manuel Velasco Coello, on 9th February in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, along with other public officials, in order to report the changes occurring in the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón.

The withdrawal of CONANP and public forces are formally demanded

At the assembly, those attending read the agreement approved, on February 11 of 2011, in the city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez by Francisco Jiménez Guzmán then ejidal commissioner and agreed to its cancellation. The agreement, which the ejidatarios never had knowledge of, declared the Treasury of the State of Chiapas to be the sole administrator of the income from the toll booth located at the entrance road to the waterfalls of Agua Azul. The management was undertaken through the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas, beyond the limits of the protected natural area within its jurisdiction and within the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón.

Indeed, that same year CONANP altered the plan of the Natural Protected Area, modifying the limits of the area established by the Decree of 1980, thus violating the territory of the ejidatarios to the benefit of the federal government through the control of the region. In this way they were exerting their activity, despite the warning of the ejidatarios and the report of independent experts from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, showing that they were transgressing the limits of ejido. This exercise of CONANP also meant the continued presence of public forces within the territory of the ejidatarios.

The assembly also agreed the obligation of the former commissioner to hand over the cash box and the audit of the accounts of the toll booth located on the road to Agua Azul. It also decided that from now onwards both the toll booth and the gravel bank would be managed by the ejido representatives of the three centres of population and by the ejidatarios adherents to the Sixth, without the intervention of government authorities.

Collusion between municipal authorities and national government

The interest of the state and national government in controlling the disputed territory needs to be mentioned, since thanks to its natural resources it is proposed as a strategic area for the tourism sector, and therefore a source of income. It is no coincidence that the arrival of the ejido commissioner that is to say, the ejidatarios from the PRI, in Bachajón, took place in 2007, just when the Palenque Integrally Planned Center (CIPP) was introduced. The CIPP is a macroproject for the construction of infrastructure and the equipping of areas for tourist development in the area around Palenque. The entrance of the PRI into the role of ejido commissioner brought new conflicts, including the lack of transparency in the management of the toll booth on the road to Agua Azul. It also created a social divide between pro-government and independent ejidatarios which is heightened day by day through some counterinsurgency strategies of the state. Strategies known as aid programmes, basic food baskets or even the handing over of housing in poor condition to party supporters and voters in order that they remain faithful to the party political leaders, and in extreme cases, that they will participate in forced evictions.

PRI ejidatarios agree to evict the Regional Headquarters

Specifically, an assembly of officialist political leaders and ejidatarios from the PRI decided to evict the Regional Headquarters after Tuesday 10th February if the national public forces had not done so by then. The assembly was held on Sunday 1st February 1 in Bachajon, in the municipality of Chilón and was attended by the officialist ejido commissioner and by several political officers of the PRI from the municipality of Chilón and the region.

In the assembly, the PRI leaders accused the ejidatarios, adherents to the Sixth, and the independent ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón of having regained control of the territory located around the community of Agua Azul, in the ejido San Sebastián. Likewise, the local leaders insisted to the PRI ejidatarios that they themselves should be the ones to evict the organized ejidatarios if the federal government did not do so during the ten-day period ending on Tuesday 10th February. This agreement was made with the complicity and consent of political officers from Yajalón and neighbouring municipalities, and the Undersecretary of Government of the fourteenth region, which includes the municipalities of Chilo, Yajalón, Ocosingo and Tila.

asambleaPriistas-500x493As shown in the photograph, several political officers were present during the making of the agreement, including members of the officialist ejidal commission of San Sebastián Bachajón such as Alejandro Moreno Gómez, ejido commissioner; Samuel Diaz Guzman, from the vigilance council and Manuel Moreno Jiménez, training adviser to the officialists and lawyer to the officialist commissioner of San Sebastián. But also members of neighbouring municipalities such as Oscar Miguel Sánchez Alpuche, undersecretary of government of Yajalón and Francisco Demeza, government delegate of the government of Chilón in the Undersecretariat of government in region XIV.

Precedents in 2011

It would not be the first time that this happened. In February 2011, Carmen Aguilar Gomez and Francisco Guzman Jiménez, the ejidal commissioner at the time, were the officials who led the PRI ejidatarios to evict the organized ejidatarios from the area around Agua Azul. Their intervention was supported by the state government at all times. Proof of this was when the following day, national and state public forces entered the territory and arrested 117 ejidatarios adherents to Sixth under the pretext that it was all an intra-community conflict.

20150208_095151_Mx_Chiapas_Bachajon_w1024_par_ValK-500x333

http://komanilel.org/2015/02/16/en-san-sebastian-bachajon-la-lucha-por-la-vida-y-el-territorio-continua-autonomia-resistencia-y-organizacion/

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Five Lights Amidst The Fog Of The Bachajon Conflict

by Aldabi Olvera

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First Light: the project for a “Cancun for Chiapas”

A “Cancun for Chiapas”, the “Entrance to the Mayan World”, “the Mayan route, the end of an era, for you, a new journey”: all of this in the northern zone of Chiapas, a key location for the economic development plans of the state government. In 2007, media coverage took off with the announcement of the CIPP (Centro Integralmente Planeado Palenque, or “Palenque Holistically Planned Centre), a development that had been mothballed for eight years. The plan aimed to bring together a series of mega projects, taking in the waterfalls at Agua Azul and Misol Ha, the beaches at Catazaja, the Mayan ruins at Palenque and the surrounding Lacandon Forest. The concept included not only hotel developments, a theme park, golf course and residential and commercial development, but also an airport for Palenque (opened in 2014) and a motorway connecting San Cristobal de Las Casas and Palenque. This development prospect would affect at least seven municipalities in Chiapas: Catazajá, Chilón, Ocosingo, Salto de Agua, Tumbalá and Palenque.

LINKSInformation obtained in a Point of Order in the federal senate, regarding the progress of the overall mega project as of 2010 (in Spanish)

http://sil.gobernacion.gob.mx/Archivos/Documentos/2010/10/asun_2690699_20101014_1287105872.pdf

Article in Spanish on the proposed San Cristobal – Palenque highway

http://www.masde131.com/2014/10/de-la-raza-a-la-resistencia-los-perjuicios-de-la-carretera-san-cristobal-palenque/

Article in English from the Financial Times about the Agua Azul conflict
http://www.cgtchiapas.org/sites/default/files/mexicoparadiseindisputeft.com_.pdf

There is however an obstacle in in the way of these projects and their implementation, one which also lies between the ambitions of hotel and construction companies and the abundant nature of the region. This obstacle is the ancestral territory and the ejidos of the indigenous peoples of the region, in particular the Tseltal Mayans of San Sebastian Bachajon.

The Second Light: Ejido Territories and Defending the Land

It’s enough to flick through the novel Balun Canan to get a sense of the contempt of the colonisers, as well as the struggle for the land, which has been the experience of the Tseltal people for 522 years. After the Mexican revolution of 1910, land was redistributed to peasants through the communal structure of the ejido. This was also achieved after the 1994 Zapatista uprising, when indigenous people across Chiapas managed to recover other lands from the hands of big land-owners.

Today, these ejidos and communally-owned territories still exist. Some are forest; others are used for cattle ranching or for the cultivation of maize or coffee.

The Tseltal people of San Sebastian Bachajon were late in obtaining official recognition for the lands of their ejido, which only took place in 1980. The ejido’s lands cover around 70,000 hectares, making it one of the largest ejidos in the country. As in all ejidos, power to make decisions over any part its territory lies only with the ejido’s general assembly. The position of ejido commissioner (today occupied by Alejandro Moreno Gomez) has a role limited to executing decisions made by that assembly.

The current conflict in the ejido dates back to the launch of the CIPP project, and worsened with an armed eviction that took place on 2 February 2011. This was carried out by a group from the villages of Pamala and Xanil, headed by Manuel Jimenez Moreno and Juan Alvaro Moreno respectively, with the support of around 800 state and federal police. Following this, in March 2011 Franciso Guzman Jimenez, ex-commissioner of the San Sebastian Bachajon ejido, made an agreement with ministers from the government of ex-Governor of Chiapas, Juan Sabines Guerrero and with representatives of the village of Agua Azul, which handed over an area of land to the Chiapas state government and to the National Commission for Natural Protected Areas (CONANP, from its initials in Spanish). Under this agreement a tollbooth was set up on the road leading to the waterfalls, at the point where the ejido’s lands border those of neighbouring Tumbala municipality. None of this was done with the free, informed and prior consent of the ejido members.

In response, ejido members, including women, children and old people, set up their own tollbooth, pledging their support for the Zapatista movement’s Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Forest.

In February 2014, the Los Llanos ejido, located in the municipality of San Cristobal de Las Casas, and inhabited by Tsotsil Mayans, applied for an injunction against the new motorway which had been announced in November the previous year by the state Government Secretary General, Eduardo Ramirez Aguilar, on the grounds that it would affect their lands. In August 2014, an assembly in the ejido of San Jeronimo Bachajon (neighbouring the San Sebastian ejido) gave an emphatic no to the construction of the San Cristobal – Palenque motorway. From these actions arose the Movement for Defence of Life and Territory. On October 12, the Los Llanos ejido celebrated a day of resistance with indigenous peoples from other settlements and organizations, including those from San Sebastian Bachajon.

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Third Light: Aggression and Violence by the State

Juan Vazquez Guzman, spokesman and coordinator of the Supporters of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Forest (“La Sexta”), was assassinated on 24 April 2013. The authorities have yet to shed any light on his murder, or to arrest anyone in connection with it. And then on 21 March 2014, Juan Carlos Gomez Silvano, the new coordinator of La Sexta in Bachajon was also murdered.

More than 120 members of this group have been detained by the municipal and state police at various moments since it was founded in 2007. Currently three political prisoners remain incarcerated in State Prison Number 12, at Yajalon, Chiapas: Juan Antonio Gomez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gomez Hernandez.

LINKS:Tseltal Mayans Arrested and Tortured in Chiapas (in Spanish)
http://www.masde131.com/2014/09/y-ahora-apresan-y-torturan-a-tres-tzeltales-de-chiapas-tambien-del-congreso-nacional-indigena/

Testimonies of Four Indigenous Prisoners in Chiapas (in Spanish)
http://www.masde131.com/2014/10/tejido-testimonial-de-cuatro-indigenas-presos-en-chiapas/ Tejido testimonial de cuatro presos indígenas en Chiapas

Coinciding with the start of the Festival of Resistance and Rebellions against Capitalism on 21 December 2014, members of La Sexta decided to re-occupy the land where the toll-booth had been installed. On 9 January they were evicted by more than 800 police. Last weekend, they again decided to recover the toll-booth by blocking the Ocosingo – Palenque highway at the turn-off for Agua Azul. This was achieved, at the cost of being attacked with rubber bullets and firing of live ammunition. Helicopters hovered over the area, and over the houses of La Sexta members, taking photos. At the current moment, according to the available information, police and persons linked to the ejido commissioner have control of the Agua Azul waterfalls.

Fourth Light: Legal Battles Occurring alongside Territorial Defence

No-one has consulted them, no-one has asked if they need, or are in agreement with the planned mega-projects. Not to speak of respecting the autonomy that they have over their ancestral lands. For this reason the legal defence of Bachajon is based on agrarian law, on Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization, on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and on Chiapas’s Law for Dialogue, Conciliation and A Dignified Peace. These grant indigenous peoples the right to free, informed and prior consent in relation to their lands and natural resources, and the right to free determination of their affairs, among other things.

Mariano Moreno Guzman, an elderly member of the community and an ex-ejido commissioner who was one of the ejido members who secured the original registration of its lands, has represented the community in a legal appeal (case reference 274/2011) to the Seventh District Judge in Tuxtla Gutierrez, the state capital of Chiapas. On 29 September last year the Third Collegiate Tribunal in Tuxtla ruled in favour of sending the dispute for adjudication to the federal Supreme Court, noting the following:

“The appeal is justified on the grounds that its legal case seeks to defend the collective rights of the community against the complicity of the ejido commissioner with the expropriatory acts of the federal government and State of Chiapas. Various claims are made in it, including denial and lack of access to justice by indigenous peoples, their right to be consulted, and the need for their free, prior and informed consent”.

On 19 November, the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice, decided not to accept the case. As a result, the case was returned to the Third Collegiate Tribunal in Tuxtla Gutierrez so that this body could rule on the issue of the alleged violations of indigenous people’s rights.

20150208_095003_Mx_Chiapas_Bachajon_w1024_par_ValK (1)

Fifth Light: Counter Propaganda and the Free Press on the Bachajon Case

Various media in Chiapas have visited Bachajon to research news stories and documentaries on what is going on there. Websites such as Koman Ilel, Kolectivo Zero and Pozol, as well as Subversiones and Radio Zapote (in addition to other networks) have published bulletins, videos and photos about the area. Members of La Sexta in Bachajon have also worked with the Movimiento por Justicia del Barrio in New York, as this organisation has supported the ejido since 2011, maintaining a blog for denunciations, petitions and opinion pieces (see https://vivabachajon.wordpress.com/).

A year ago Másde131 [which originally published this article in Spanish] made a documentary which explains the wider context [available at this link in Spanish; English subtitles can also be selected when viewing the video] The Struggle for Life and Death at the Agua Azul Waterfalls. 

Translated by Fionn O’Sullivan

http://www.masde131.com/2015/01/cinco-luces-del-conflicto-en-bachajon-y-las-cascadas-de-agua-azul/

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Communiqué From San Sebastián Bachajón February 14 2015

San Sebastián Bachajón denounces the creation of false crimes of highway assault and organized crime to undermine their struggle

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FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJÓN, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 14 FEBRUARY 2015

To the General Command of the Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee of the Zapatista National Liberation Army

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world

Compañeros and compañeras, we inform you that the bad government is using a strategy of supposed tourist businesses to create an environment of persecution against indigenous communities, but especially of our organization, through false accusations of assault on the highway and organized crime, in order to undermine our struggle by presenting us as thieves or criminals, for this reason they are increasingly sending police to our region of San Sebastian, which is near the Agua Azul turning on the road from Ocosingo to Palenque, because they can find no way to stop us defending our territory and as they see that more and more of the brother and sister ejidatarios are opening their eyes to the bad policy of the government and therefore leaving increasingly more isolated the ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gomez and the vigilance councillor Samuel Diaz Guzman, who have no one to embrace them but their patrons the bad governments.

This trick of the bad government to accuse us of false crimes of assault and organized crime is the same as in 2009 and 2011, when they imprisoned the political prisoner compañeros for defending the land, but we are not afraid of the government’s threats, we demand that the three levels of bad government respect the people and organized communities, because we will not rest in the defence of the land and our rights as a people.

We demand the withdrawal of the public forces from our lands which have been dispossessed since February 2011 and of the National Commission for Protected Natural Areas.

We demand freedom for our political prisoners Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández and for the unjustly imprisoned compañeros Santiago Moreno Pérez, Emilio Jiménez Gómez and Esteban Gómez Jiménez.

From the northern zone of the state of Chiapas, the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón send our combative greetings.

Never again a Mexico without us

Land and Freedom! Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

Immediate presentation of the disappeared compañeros from Ayotzinapa!

JUSTICE FOR AYOTZINAPA, ACTEAL, ABC, ATENCO!

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National And International Brigade Visits The Ejido Bachajón

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Agencia SubVersiones

Photos: Koman Ilel, Daniel (Piratas for TM), Patxi, Valk and R.Rahal.

Following the violent eviction on 9th January last, when state forces dispossessed the camp set up on the recuperated land of the ejido (on 21st December 21, 2014), the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón -adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle- together with independent ejidatarios established a new regional headquarters; located in a part of the territory which was taken from them in 2011, in order to develop tourist mega projects.

On 9th February, at the end of the work of the brigade and one month since the eviction, it was reported that the ejidatarios affiliated to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in the same municipality announced that if no action was taken within ten days by the police, they themselves would undertake the eviction; the deadline expired on Tuesday 10th February.

The work of the brigade

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As they were targeting them again with the threat of another violent eviction, on 6th, 7th and 8th February, a national and international observation brigade in solidarity with San Sebastián Bachajón convened by the Network Against Repression and for Solidarity (RvsR) was undertaken. The participants were thirty-three people belonging to different groups and organizations from Mexico, Italy, France, Spain and Argentina and from the free (autonomous, alternative or whatever they’re called) media.

Night was falling when the brigade was received in the new regional headquarters. Lighted by torches and bonfires, a double row of compañeros and compañeras from the ejido offered a few words and some dinner to the newly arrived members of the brigade. It was not until the next morning that a formal start was made to the work of the committees. In a first sharing a historical account was given from the official establishment of the ejido, in 1980, when the files that defined the communal lands and property which was granted were received. It was in 2004 when the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) changed the boundaries of the ejido lands arbitrarily.

In this way began the process of struggle that led to the adherence of much of the ejido to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, during the other campaign, which also began as a result of repression by the state. In 2009, the first eight ejidatarios were imprisoned; in 2011 the eviction of the toll booth at Agua Azul, which was administered by the ejido was carried out. At that time 117 people were detained, who reported having been tortured and beaten after having experienced a violent eviction, they were gradually released in an operation of punishment and bullying.

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The work of the brigade included the documentation of the problems and sharing the everyday work of the men, women and children in the community to learn deeply how their lives have been affected by the theft, violence and aggression. To do this various committees were formed, whose aim was to accompany the different tasks of the compañeros of San Sebastián Bachajón, such as security and the kitchen.

On Saturday 7th February, a committee from “El otro Valle de Chalko” came to the community and created a mural on one of the fences of the headquarters in a show of solidarity and support.

The work of the brigade continued until Sunday 8th in a farewell ceremony. The RvsR gave a banner to show support and representatives of Bachajón spoke words of thanks to the members of the brigade, reiterating the need for solidarity and support in this continuing struggle.

“The land is a victim”

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The State and the “officialist” ejidatarios (affiliated with the PRI) try to exercise terror towards the dignified inhabitants of San Sebastián Bachajón to put an end to their struggle. At a meeting of the brigade with relatives of the political prisoners and the assassinated the word was clear: the fight to defend our Mother Earth will continue.

In this brief but powerful encounter, relatives of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, killed in 2013 and 2014 respectively, shared their stories and pain. They alleged that Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano was accused of murdering his brother and was serving a sentence on a charge of attempted murder.

About this case, their father said: “My son was murdered, for the conflict about the ejido land (he) received more than twenty shots while traveling in his truck, my son Juan Antonio was imprisoned in Yajalon. It is for the defence of Mother Earth and the territory that the officialists and the bad government do not want to see us organized, why they kill and send our compañeros to jail.”

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Also present were relatives of Emilio Jiménez Gómez, accused of robbery with violence of a foreign tourist who at the time of the confrontation did not recognize Emilio as the attacker but despite this, he was forced to sign a statement that he was not allowed to read. Esteban Gómez Jiménez, prisoner in el Amate, is charged with murder, robbery, possession of weapons and organized crime.Santiago Moreno Perez has spent five years in prison for manslaughter. Mario Aguilar (along with Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano) was arrested at Virgen de Dolores and in the same way was accused on charge of attempted murder, both were threatened and tortured by the police.

It should be noted that governmental strategies for the imprisonment and murder of those who make them uncomfortable are woven together between authorities and companies. The tourism and transport industries seek to acquire land and build megaprojects that only exploit the land and its native inhabitants. The offences are alleged initially by companies and later, despite not being ratified, are used to prosecute and imprison.

http://subversiones.org/archivos/113633 

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Report From The Brigade Of Observation About The Situation In San Sebastián Bachajón

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National and international brigade visits San Sebastián Bachajón and reports that the Regional Headquarters is in danger of eviction

The ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón who are organized in defence of their lands are threatened with eviction from the new Regional Headquarters of San Sebastián Bachajón in the coming days. Political party-supporting ejidatarios from the same municipality announced that if public forces do not execute the eviction within ten days, ending on Tuesday 12 February, they themselves will do it. This was explained by compañeros and compañeras from the Network against Repression (RvsR), and other groups who participated between the 6th and 8th of this month in a brigade of observation to San Sebastián Bachajón.

In a sharing on Monday 9th February, many brigadistas told various free media in San Cristobal de las Casas of the current situation of the struggle in the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón as well as the experiences they shared with the compañer@s ejidatari@s.

Listen to the audio of the sharing: http://komanilel.org/2015/02/09/informe-brigada-de-observacion-sobre-la-situacion-en-san-sebastian-bachajon/

The brigade of observation accompanies the ejidatarios of Bachajón

The brigade was composed of 33 people from various countries and four free media from different locations in Mexico. Participants accompanied the ejidatarios in struggle for three days. In addition they addressed the conflict through interviews about different subjects, conducted a questionnaire to report the current situation of the ejidatarios, painted several murals in the facilities of the new Regional Headquarters and collaborated on cooking tasks and security. The short time of the sharing allowed both the members of the brigade and the Tseltales to share their experiences and find together an everyday and closer context. Also, relatives of political prisoners of the struggle and relatives of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano shared their experiences and emotions with the brigade. It was also moving when the RvsR gave the Headquarters a banner with the slogan: “Justice and freedom for Bachajón, the Compañeros are not alone, the Sixth Lives,” at the time of departure.

Ejidatari@s welcome the brigade and explain the historical process of the struggle

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During the welcome, the compañer@s from San Sebastián Bachajón who were present lined up to receive the brigade. During this time, the national and international brigadistas were presented and the ejidatari@s gave a brief historical account of the process of struggle for the defence of the ejido San Sebastián. During their presentation they explained how the conflict began in 2004, when the National Commission for Protected Natural Areas (CONANP) changed and violated the boundaries of the area that supposedly belongs to the  national government, reducing the territory of the ejidatarios. A year later, the ejidatarios and ejidatarias decided together with the ejidal commissioner to install a toll booth at the entrance road to the waterfalls of Agua Azul, which was managed transparently by the whole community. In 2007, however, a new ejidal authority was imposed illegally, who is linked to the political parties. This act drove the ejidatarios who were not party members to create their own commissioner and control committee. Government repression began at this time through imprisonment and murder. They also explained the current situation following the recovery of lands since 21st December, the subsequent eviction on January 9, the road block and the construction of the Regional Headquarters.

Meeting with the families of the political prisoners and of those who were killed

During the visit of the brigade, relatives of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano talked with the compañeros and shared their feelings. Also, relatives of political prisoners explained how public forces with the complicity of the authorities have been creating crimes and imprisoning people who are not to their liking. Such is the case of Esteban Gomez Jimenez, who is in el Amate and accused of homicide, robbery, possession of weapons and organized crime. Similarly the case of Emilio Jiménez Gómez, accused of robbery with violence of a foreigner who never identified him as guilty and who was then forced to sign documents by police which he could not even read. At the meeting they also remembered the three compañeros imprisoned in Yajalón accused of shooting someone during the celebration of el grito in their community. Finally they also spoke of Santiago Moreno Pérez, who has spent five years in prison and is accused of murder. In addition, the brigade collected the cases of Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano and Mario Aguilar, held in Our Lady of Sorrows, who have been formally arrested for attempted murder. Both were tortured by police and threatened.

http://komanilel.org/2015/02/09/informe-brigada-de-observacion-sobre-la-situacion-en-san-sebastian-bachajon/ 

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Tensions Maintained In San Sebastián Bachajón

by SIPAZ

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On 29 January, ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón, Chilón municipality, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle, published a communique which reports that they will maintain their posture of defending their lands and that, toward this end, they have installed a regional headquarters for the ejido between the Agua Azul crossroads at the entrance of the waterfalls of the same name and the limits of the Tumbalá municipality.

They denounced furthermore that since the displacement operation they suffered on 9 January 2015, police presence has been constant, such that they have called on Governor Manuel Velasco Coello to immediately order the withdrawal of public security forces and to discontinue intimidation and repression.

They reported as well that the ejidal commissioner, Alejandro Moreno Gómez, together with his security advisor are organizing shock-groups that “fire into the night with high-caliber weapons,” thus frightening local residents.

They noted lastly that “private meetings are being held between the Chilón delegate Francisco Demeza Hernández and Carlos Jiménez Trujillo, a local deputy, to plan for [more] looting, such that our comrades are guarding the regional headquarters and are charging the quotas at the entrance of the Agua Azul waterfalls.  We hold the three levels of government responsible for any type of attack or confrontation that could develop.”

For his part, the “official” ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón, Alejandro Moreno Gómez, has told the media that “at present we are being affected by a group of approximately 100 persons, men and women who hail from different municipalities of the state of Chiapas, adherents to an organization called the Other Campaign or the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle, who have violently appropriated ejidal lands […].  We demand respect for the autonomy of the ejido and for non-violence.  They must put down their arms and opt for the path of dialogue and social peace.”

The first report of the caravan of adherents to the Sixth who went to visit San Sebastián Bachajón ein January stresses the attempt made by the ejidal commissioner to “portray these events as an inter-communal conflict that only has to do with the internal politics of the Bachajón community rather than the interests of the government and tourist firms.”

https://sipazen.wordpress.com/2015/02/10/chiapas-tensions-maintained-in-san-sebastian-bachajon/

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Indigenous Resistance Against A Tourist Megaproject At Bachajón 

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Ricardo Lagunes and Jessica Davies

La Jornada, 7th February, 2015

The dignified struggle of the indigenous Tseltal peoples of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, in defence of their ancestral lands, culture, tradition and identity has become almost legendary. They have suffered the assassination of two of their community leaders –Juan Vázquez Guzmán, on 24th April, 2013, and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, 21st March, 2014–, along with violence, torture, unjust imprisonment, forced disappearance, attacks, threats, harassment, intimidation and a continual police presence, but their determined resistance against the dispossession of their territory for the construction of a tourist megaproject continues.

On 21st December, 2014, more than 400 ejidatarios peacefully recuperated their common lands which had been illegally stolen from them on 2nd February, 2011 by the three levels of government and their local supporters. The date of the recuperation was highly symbolic: the second anniversary of the Silent March of the Zapatistas, and the day of the inauguration of the World Festival of Resistances and Rebellions, convoked by the CNI and the EZLN.

The lands dispossessed by the government are crossed by the access road to the ecotourism centre at the spectacular Agua Azul waterfalls, located in the Tumbalá municipality, which are surrounded by beautiful jungle rich in wildlife and natural resources. For this reason, the governments and corporations are desperate to get their hands on these lands, so that they can create an elite tourist development with luxury hotels, golf courses, and a superhighway. But the lands legally and legitimately belong to the ejidatarios as indigenous peoples who work them communally.

The lands of Bachajón are legally protected by the suspension of the plan granted under amparo 274/2011. The legal resolution of this amparo is to be decreed in the coming weeks, and is very likely that a judgement will be issued which is favorable to the protection of the collective rights of the indigenous. It is important to emphasise that the ejidatarios have chosen to take the legal and peaceful route, and that they have always sought dialogue within the local communities.

For 18 days and nights, in rotation, 500 women, men, young and old people, formed cordons guarding their recuperated territory. They faced threats and intimidation, and a continual fear of attack and eviction by the security forces and paramilitary groups organised by the ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez and the vigilance councillor Samuel Díaz Guzmán.

In the early morning of 9th January, 2015, more than 900 members of the state and federal forces violently evicted the ejidatarios from their lands, forcing many to flee to the hills and forests. Denouncing the attack, the ejidatarios confirmed that it would only strengthen their resistance.

On 11th January, 2015, the indigenous from San Sebastián Bachajón, as a sign of protest and peaceful resistance, blocked the road from Ocosingo to Palenque  at the Agua Azul turning. The Chiapas state police fired shots at the ejidatarios for twenty minutes with rubber and heavy calibre bullets. Three people were wounded. In spite of this, after an hour of resistance, the ejidatarios succeeded in driving back the government forces, and have maintained their presence up to now.

The ejidatarios and their compañeros throughout the world have stated that they hold the three levels of government responsible for any aggression against their lives or personal integrity as a result of their actions in defence of the mother earth. They are currently standing firm in their dignified struggle, and are calling for national and international solidarity and actions of support. An example of these actions is the Worldwide Forum held on 18th January at Cideci Unitierra, in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas.

In a communique of 10th January 2015, the ejidatarios explained clearly what drives their struggle: “We want to tell the bad government (…) that our lands are not for sale; they will not conduct their great ecotourism businesses and super highways on our territory, we will not allow them to displace communities and increase poverty just so they can become richer at the expense of our suffering.”

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2015/02/07/opinion/013a1pol

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Communiqué from the Ejido San Sebastían Bachajón, 5th February, 2015.

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FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJÓN, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO5th FEBRUARY 2015.

To the Good Government Juntas

To the General Command of the Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee of the Zapatista National Liberation Army

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world

Compañeros and compañeras, we denounce the three levels of bad government because we have reports that they are preparing arrest warrants to disappear our organization and evict us from the new regional headquarters of San Sebastian, where we have our space for work, workshops and sharings, because the bad government does not us like to have this space of rebellion, because we clearly denounce their cunning in wanting to deprive the people of their territory, but once and for all we are telling the bad government that we will defend the regional headquarters and we will continue to defend the land that has been dispossessed since 2nd February, 2011, and which now is again being held by the public forces since the violent eviction of 9th January, 2015.

The struggle of the organization does not rest, we continue walking to open the eyes of new compañeros and compañeras, brothers and sisters of San Sebastián Bachajon, every day more are joining to defend the lands of the community, because the ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gomez and his vigilance councillor Samuel Diaz Guzman no longer have ejidatarios to support them, they only have the backing of the bad government and their public forces like the good minions of the bad government walk around begging for the eviction of the organization, but also the bad government uses its cunning and gives them weapons so that at any time they can come to kill us, and secretly advises the government delegate of Chilon, Francisco Demeza, and the government undersecretary of Yajalón Alpuche, former adviser to the paramilitary organization Peace and Justice, so the bad government washes its hands saying the problem is between indigenous and they are killing each other, and for this reason it then sends its public forces to take away their lands, it is the same plan as always.

The bad government and its minions the ejidal commissioner and the vigilance councillor say in the paid media, to those who believe nothing but the word of the bad government, that we are robbers and criminals and that we have guns, that we are a minority in the ejido and that there are people here from other municipalities. With these words the bad government are only looking for a pretext to detract from our struggle, but our word and struggle has more strength because it comes from dignity and the love of life, of the land, our struggle is not for ourselves, it is for our children, for our grandchildren to come, because we have the right to defend and care for the land, to be autonomous and to decide what is the best way to live as a people, we do not need political parties, neither do we need the bad government to come to tell us what to do because the bad government is domineering and only seeks its own benefit, just like  peña nieto, the “blondie” Velasco and Leonardo Guirao Aguilar, each one has their millionaire households of corruption, their wives contracted to be televised, they are only looking to make their moneybags richer, and the municipal President of Chilon, who is living in one of the poorest municipalities in Chiapas, sells weapons, is a drug dealer and is now becoming a deputy as a reward for being a servant of those from above.

We demand that the bad government respect our people and organization because we will defend life and territory, our organization struggles peacefully because we are original peoples of these lands and we have rights that they cannot just come and take away like this with their police and paramilitaries.

We demand the freedom of our compañeros political prisoners, and demand respect for the people and communities in resistance against the projects of death through which they want to take away the water, earth, air, life, and culture of our people. We greet the struggle of our compañeros and compañeras of Xochicuautla, Coyotepec, San Pedro Tlanixco, Atenco, ejido Tila, Alvaro Obregon, El Barrio in New York and all the peoples and communities in resistance in Mexico and the world.

From the northern zone of the state of Chiapas, the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón send our combative greetings.

Never again a Mexico without us

Attentively

Land and Freedom! Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

Immediate presentation of the disappeared compañeros from Ayotzinapa!

JUSTICE FOR AYOTZINAPA, ACTEAL, ABC, ATENCO!

 

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Tourist Development Behind State Repression Of Non-Violent Indigenous Movement

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By Martha Pskowski

“We organized to take this land. Why? Because we know that the government is dispossessing land all over the country. On December 21stwe woke up at 6am to recuperate this land. Four hundred of us compañeros and compañeras from the community arrived.”

The masked representative of San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas, describes in a Jan. 1 interview how residents of this Tzeltal indigenous community reclaimed the entrance to the Aguas Azules waterfalls on Dec. 21, 2014. Government officials at the tollbooth handed over the building without resistance to the non-violent indigenous movement led by the residents of San Sebastian Bachajon.

Movement members set up an encampment at the tollbooth, where over one hundred people remained on guard at all hours. However on Jan. 9, 2015, several hundred state and federal police evicted them from the encampment to regain control of the tollbooth. This triggered a new series of confrontations with the movement in Bachajón. Currently the state has control of the tollbooth, but the movement has resolved to continue organizing to defend the tollbooth and their entire territory against state encroachments.

“Cancún in the jungle”

Bachajon’s territory borders the famous Aguas Azules (Blue Waters) waterfalls, a major tourist attraction in Chiapas. The local community has been fighting to maintain their territorial rights as an indigenous community against incursions by the state government, which intends to develop the site as an international tourist attraction.

The Aguas Azules falls lie between the municipalities of Chilón and Tumbalá, Chiapas. They form part of a state-wide tourism development plan that successive governments have tried to implement, going back to Governor Robeto Albores Guillén, who created the “Comitan Declaration” in 2006 promising to, “Build a new Cancún in Northern Chiapas.”

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The declaration lays out a broad plan for the area. “They did it in Quintana Roo and it is possible in Chiapas. The Federal Government should commit to develop a tourism program in the coming years that includes Palenque, Agua Azul, Misol-ha, Toniná, Yaxchilán, Bonampak and Playas de Catazajá.”

This regional strategy coincides closely with the Plan Puebla-Panamá, renamed the Mesoamerica Project, of which Chiapas is a pilot state. The development of Aguas Azules is part of the “Palenque Integral Planned Center”. The Center would include a luxury hotel at the waterfalls, an international airport in Palenque and construction of the Palenque-San Cristóbal highway. The development would bring immense environmental degradation, pollution, and land grabbing to the region.

All of these development projects include language about poverty reduction, protecting nature and fostering economic growth, but the communities that live in the areas destined for mega-tourism are taken into account only as low-level service employees or folklore for the visitors. Chiapas’s state tourism website has a video of the Aguas Azules waterfalls, displaying a virgin landscape devoid of any human presence. It only includes one short note on the “cultural aspects” of the site: “The indigenous Tzeltal people live here and preserve their traditional dress, especially the women.”

TRhe residents of Bachajón know what lies behind the discourse of a development scheme that reduces the complex cultural fabric of the communities of Chilón and Tumbalá to their traditional clothing. Referring to the hotel slated to be built in their territory, a representative says, “It won’t benefit us. They won’t let us work there when they build the hotel. They are going to use us a service people, nothing more, just to wash the bathrooms and pick up trash.”

Popular support grows for the autonomy movement in Bachajon

For two weeks in December and early January, the Zapatista movement of southern Mexico, along with Mexico’s National Indigenous Congress and the adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, held the first ever “World Festival of Resistances and Rebellions.” Participants came from around Mexico and around the world. The movement in Bachajon adheres to the Sixth Declaration, a call the Zapatistas issued in 2006 to unite movements worldwide against neoliberalism and for autonomy in local communities. They took part in the Festival, which was inaugurated in Central Mexico the same day the movement in Bachajon reclaimed a part of their territory. They called for Festival participants to support their efforts for autonomy and encouraged alternative media collectives to visit the community.

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The battle for Bachajon did not begin with the latest conflict. Since 2006 community members have organized to reject the tourism development that forges ahead without respecting the basic rights of indigenous peoples to consultation and consent for projects in their territories.

Bachajon is an ejido, the form of communal land ownership founded after the Mexican Revolution, and maintains a local government that is legally required to hold assemblies and include all residents who have land rights. However, the movement’s representatives say that the local government, led by Alejandro Moreno Gómez, “Never holds assemblies, never reports on their activities, there isn’t access to information… …they don’t tell us how much money is being collected at the tollbooth.”

Due to these complaints, in recent months more community members have joined the resistance movement and no longer recognize the legitimacy of the local government, which acts in cahoots with the state officials who have violently attempted to take over the tourist site.

Although a growing number of residents support the movement, another part of the community supports Moreno Gómez and the activities of the state government. This group maintains ties to paramilitaries in the area, and staged a blockade on the highway Dec. 31A representative of the autonomous movement says, “It is a tactic to give the state authorities a pretext to enter and not only remove the blockade, but remove those of us who have re-taken the tollbooth.”

While the government’s discourse insists that the conflict in Bachajon is an intra-community dispute in which the government serves as mediator, in the interview residents explain how the local, state and national governments have acted in collusion with sectors of the community. These actions not only justify the displacement of the community, but also the repression that has reinforced it.

Criminalizing of the struggle for autonomy

After ten days guarding the entrance to the community and the tollbooth, on January 9 at 6.30 am, more than 900 members of the state and federal forces violently evicted the encampment. During the attack, eight residents of San Sebastián Bachajon were apprehended and held without knowledge of their whereabouts for over eight hours before being released. After the eviction, ten police vehicles remained at the site to prevent a recuperation by the autonomous movement.

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The next day, Jan. 11, the opposing group blockaded the Ocosingo-Palenque highway, one of the most important tourist and transit routes in Chiapas. When police arrived, the movement succeeded in driving them off with sticks, machetes, and slingshots. Meanwhile, the police shot back with rubber bullets and firearms. Only three residents of Bachajon were mildly wounded, but bullet casings scattered the highway after the attack.

On Jan. 12, a police helicopter was spotted flying over the near-by community of Xanil. The occupants were taking photographs of houses below, making residents concerned more state or paramilitary attacks against movement leaders could follow.

That afternoon, more than five police vehicles, with 160 officers, approached the blockade but were forced back by trees that the autonomous movement had felled to block the highway. Meanwhile, a paramilitary group under the direction of ejido authorities used an alternative route, effectively surrounding the blockade. While their presence did not lead to direct confrontation, ultimately the movement decided to lift the blockade. Since the blockade has been lifted, the autonomous movement in Bachajon has travelled to San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, to provide information on recent events to solidarity organizations, and invited international observers to the community. On February 2, 2015, they announced the opening of a new regional centre for the Sixth Declaration in the community of Bachajon.

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January’s confrontation is not the first act of repression against the movement. State police and paramilitaries have violently repressed the movement for autonomy in San Sebastian Bachajon, in a strategy that has been characterized as low intensity warfare. The repression began in full in February 2011, when police descended on a community meeting, detaining 117 community members, all affiliated with the movement for autonomy. The government took over the toll booth and since then the total number of arrests has continued to grow. Of these 117, some were quickly released, while others spent months or more than a year in jail. The final two prisoners were not released until December 2013. Other former prisoners from the community are Miguel Vázquez and Antonio Estrada, both adherents to the Sixth Declaration, who were released in December 2014.

The most recent unlawful arrests were on September 16, 2014, when Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano (whose brother Juan Carlos was assassinated), Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández were taken into custody. They are still imprisoned and report that they were tortured after being detained.

Two members of the movement for autonomy have been killed, without charges being brought against the perpetrators. Juan Vázquez Guzmán was murdered at the door of his home on Abril 24, 2013 and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano was killed on March 21, 2014. Community members say paramilitaries in the area murdered the campesinos and although a national and international solidarity campaign has called for justice, the cases have not been resolved.

This repression is not a coincidence or collateral damage–it is an integral part of the tourism developers’ strategy. The Human Rights Center Fray Bartolome de las Casas (FrayBa) in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, leaked documents from the U.S.-based tourism consulting company Norton Consulting and EDSA that recommend that, “The state and local government need to assure that the tourists who visit Chiapas and Palenque feel safe and protected” and that “the state needs to protect the developers and hotel operators from the perception of political instability”.

These documents are reminiscent of the famous memo from Chase Bank in Manhattan, which stated that the Mexican government had to, “Eliminate the Zapatistas to demonstrate their effective control of the national territory.” The repression of social movements in Chiapas goes part and parcel with the efforts to development mega-tourism in the state.

Fighting for their land and territory

On Jan. 1, the representative of the movement giving the interview keeps his face covered with a ski-mask for fear of violent retaliation for speaking up. The dense rainforest surrounding Bachajon lies in the heart of territory that the Zapatista movement reclaimed in 1994 from large-scale landholders. Their territory is close to the magnificent Mayan archeological site of Palenque and the waves of national and foreign tourism that descend on the region. Mayan culture, memorialized at Palenque, is alive and well in Bachajón. The residents of Bachajón, who speak the Mayan language of Tzeltal, defend their territorial rights so they will be able to maintain their livelihoods practicing subsistence agriculture.

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The representative explains that to the people fighting to remain autonomous know as campesinos, or peasants, plans for a luxury hotel in their territory will not benefit them. The tourists who drive by the encampment do not look worried or scared as they pass local residents lining the highway with ski-masks covering their faces. Perhaps in the era of the state disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero and the military execution of 22 in the town of Tlatlaya in June, the camouflaged trucks of the Mexican Army–a common site in Chiapas–provoke more fear than campesinos fighting for their livelihoods.

Mainstream media typically describes the conflict as centering on the tollbooth, but the land recuperation that took place on Dec. 21 and the ongoing resistance reveals a much broader territorial vision.

As one representative says, “We aren’t just concerned with the tollbooth. What we want is the land, because the land provides our food and is where we work to earn a living.” While the government once again controls the Aguas Azules tollbooth, the resolve of the movement for local autonomy has not flagged after more than seven years of struggle.

Martha Pskowski is a researcher and freelance journalist in Mexico and a member of the Americas Program team. This article was originally published in Spanish with the Mexican news collective SubVersiones

Photos: Heriberto Paredes, Yollatl Alvarado

http://www.cipamericas.org/archives/14548

http://subversiones.org/archivos/112379

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Ejidatarios Of San Sebastián Bachajón Continue To Defend Their Territory Against The Threat Of Dispossession From The Government Of Chiapas

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After at least 900 federal and state police evicted them, on 9th January, from the lands recuperated on 21st December belonging to the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas, the Tseltales have maintained the position of defending their lands; now they have set up a regional headquarters of the ejido between the Agua Azul turning and the boundary with the municipality of Tumbalá.

EDITORIAL Desinformémonos

Mexico City, January 30, 2015. After at least 900 federal and state police evicted them on 9th January from the lands recovered on 21st December belonging to the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas, the Tseltales have maintained the position of defending their land; now they have set up a regional headquarters of the ejido between the Agua Azul turning and the boundary with the municipality of Tumbalá.

In the area that connects Ococingo with Palenque and the Agua Azul waterfalls, there is a permanent police presence, so the indigenous demand that the government of Manuel Velasco Coello, Governor of Chiapas, withdraw the members of the police immediately and do not continue with the intimidation and repression.

In 2007, the indigenous from one of the largest ejidos in Mexico, with 70,000 hectares, became part of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, and exercised their right to the free self-determination of their people. They erected a tollbooth on their territory, so that tourists who want to visit the waterfalls of Agua Azul, one of the biggest tourist attractions of this state, pay a toll for entrance. With the money, they decided in assembly, they would support sick ejidatarios and needy families

Both the ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez and his vigilance councillor Samuel Díaz Guzmán, from the municipality of Chilón, are organizing shock groups to repress the ejidatarios. “People like Juan Álvaro Moreno and Manuel Jiménez Moreno fire shots at night with high calibre weapons, to foment fear in the population,” report the indigenous in a communiqué.

At the same time they make an appeal to human rights organizations and society in general to be alert to any new eviction. The indigenous report that the delegate of the municipality of Chilón, Francisco Demeza Hernández, and local deputy, Carlos Jimenez Trujillo, are possibly planning repression against the people who guard the new regional house and the toll booth.

 

http://desinformemonos.org/2015/01/ejidatarios-de-san-sebastian-bachajon-continuan-en-la-defensa-de-su-territorio-ante-la-amenaza-de-desalojo-del-gobierno-de-chiapas/

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Communiqué from San Sebastian Bachajon January 29, 2015

 

 

Regional Headquarters San Sebastian Bachajon, communiqué January 29, 2015

Where those from above destroy, we from below reconstruct!

 FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJÓN, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 29 JANUARY 2015

To the Good Government Juntas

To the General Command of the Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee of the Zapatista National Liberation Army

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world

Compañeros and compañeras, we inform you that we continue to do the work of resistance defending our people and territory from dispossession by the bad government; for this reason we are building a regional headquarters in San Sebastián to be a place of work, workshops and sharings (exchanges). The work at this headquarters starts today, we have built it a kilometre from the Agua Azul turning and from the border with the official municipality of Tumbalá.

We demand from the bad government that their police leave the lands which have been dispossessed since 2nd February, 2011, because the lands belong to the people and we will not allow them to take them from us for their economic interests.

We demand that the ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gomez and vigilance councillor Samuel Diaz Guzmán stop selling their dignity for money like the former commissioner Francisco Guzmán Jiménez did. We denounce that these representatives of the bad government are organizing the groups of Juan Alvaro Moreno from Xanil and Manuel Jiménez Moreno from Pamalá to fire shots at night with high calibre weapons.

And also they are having private meetings with the delegate of Chilón, Francisco Demeza Hernández and Carlos Jiménez Trujillo, local deputy, to plan to displace the compañer@s who are guarding the regional headquarters and those who are collecting the toll at the entrance to the Agua Azul waterfalls; and we hold the three levels of government responsible for any type of attacks or confrontations that may take place.

From the northern zone of the state of Chiapas, the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón send our combative greetings to all the peoples, communities and organisations in resistance, never again a Mexico without us.

ATTENTIVELY

Land and Freedom! Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

Immediate presentation of the disappeared compañeros from Ayotzinapa!

JUSTICE FOR AYOTZINAPA, ACTEAL, ABC, ATENCO!

 

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Words of the compañeros and compañeras of San Sebastián Bachajón in the Forum against Urban and Rural Dispossession

FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJÓN, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO

18th JANUARY, 2015

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To the Good Government Juntas

To the General Command of the Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee of the Zapatista National Liberation Army

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the World Festival of Resistances

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world

Compañeros and compañeras, on 21 December 2014 the men and women from San Sebastián Bachajón peacefully recuperated the common use lands dispossessed by the bad government, and the bad government responded with repression because they could not see the communities remain owners of their lands, because this would prevent the imposition of the death projects of the rich.

As we have reported through various media, on 9th January the bad government sent more than 900 police to evict the women and men guarding the recuperated lands. The same day eight compañeros were disappeared for several hours, and despite the violent eviction we decided to stand firm in defence of our lands because if we don’t do it nobody else will.

That’s why on 11th January we began to block the road from Ocosingo to Palenque at the agua azul turning, where we blocked the road for several days to demand the departure of the public security forces from our lands, but the government as always seeks its economic interest and does not care about using the same indigenous brothers to kill our compañeros and compañeras who defend the mother Earth; it ordered the police to shoot us with high calibre guns, as was shared through the independent media with pictures of shell casings, as a result one compañero was wounded by a heavy calibre gun and two compañeros by rubber bullets.

In spite of this police attack the compañeros and compañeras responded with courage and dignity and we maintained a total blockage of the road until a few days ago when the roadblock became intermittent and informative, accompanied by the national and international solidarity of women and men of good heart.

We inform you that our compañeros and compañeras are going to remain in the place where we have been since January 11 until the police leave our lands. We will continue to inform you about the dispossession, because what the bad government is reporting, that we are preventing tourist access to the waterfalls, is not true. We have no connection with any blocking of access to the site promoted by the ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez and his vigilance councillor Samuel Díaz Guzmán who are manipulated by the bad government.

We demand that the bad government respects us because we will not allow them to generate violence in the community in order to dispossess us. We hold the three levels of government responsible for what may happen to our compañeros and compañeras as a result of defending the land. Because this is what the bad government is doing with our Ch’ol brothers and sisters of the ejido Tila where the bad government is using these same indigenous brothers to put an end to the community and its autonomy, imposing illegal ejido authorities to remove power from the true ejido authorities who defend the land and rights of their people. We tell the compañeros and compañeras of the Tila ejido and the communities of Mexico and the world who are resisting the projects of dispossession that they are not alone and we are walking together.

From the northern zone of the state of Chiapas, the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón send our combative greetings.

Never again a Mexico without us

Attentively

Land and Freedom! Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

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“We don’t want dialogue with the government, we just want them off our land”: San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas.

 Ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón in Chiapas remain committed to continuing their activities, after the events of January 9, when at least 900 members of federal and state police forced them off the lands they had recuperated on December 21. “They will not desist until state forces leave their lands; they don’t want dialogue with the government”, says lawyer. 

DESINFORMÉMONOS

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Mexico City, January 13, 2015. Members of the ejido (or ejidatarios) of San Sebastián Bachajón in Chiapas remain committed to continuing with their activities, after the events of January 9, when at least 900 members of federal and state police forced them off the lands they had reclaimed on December 21. “They will not desist until state forces leave their lands; they don’t want dialogue with the government because it is judge, jury and executioner in the conflict and they perceive it as the principal cause of tension in the zone”, explains the lawyer Ricardo Lagunes, legal representative of the Tseltal group. He adds that, for them, the current task is one of internal organization, which has been visibly altered by the violence brought in by the government. “For them organization is difficult, because they have to defend themselves from attacks carried out with high-calibre firearms by the State Police”.

San Sebastián Bachajón is one of the largest ejidos in Mexico, made up of 70 thousand hectares; it is a zone of great biodiversity and natural beauty which political interests perceive as an area with potential for the development of tourism. The land is rich in natural resources, green forest, wildlife and water. The waterfalls of Agua Azul are among the most popular tourist attractions in the state of Chiapas; at certain times of the year, they take on a turquoise hue which makes them even more attractive to foreign tourists.

The Tzeltal ejidatarios maintain an intermittent blockade on the Ocosingo-Palenque highway by the Agua Azul junction, which began on January 11 in response to the violent expulsion carried out by the state government, and members of state and federal police, as a sign of protest at the state’s insistence on appropriating their ejido land.

In 2007, the members of the ejido declared themselves adherents of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, exercising and establishing the right of their people to self-determination. They then erected a toll booth in their territory, with the aim that tourists wanting to visit the waterfalls could pay them a reclamation fee. With the funds raised, they decided in an assembly to use it to support the ill members of the ejido and the families most in need, the journalist Gloría Muñoz explains in her opinion column in the newspaper La Jornada.

In March 2011 ex-governor of Chiapas Juan Sabines Guerrero brought together representatives of the Bachajón ejido, those from the Agua Azul zone and all cabinet members of his state government; they subscribed to a “convention 274” whereby the two peoples would commit to donate those lands to the state so that a single toll booth could be set up. “The state was to govern the highway through the Secretary of Hacienda in Chiapas and the federal government’s Commission for Protected Natural Areas, although the Agua Azul zone isn’t even in this category”, the lawyer explains.

In a lawsuit (amparo) placed by indigenous members of the ejido, they appealed against the convention signed in 2011. “I believe that the members of the ejido have about a 95% chance of obtaining a ruling protecting their collective rights, we are waiting for this ruling because the Third Collegiate Tribunal of Tuxtla Gutiérrez sent the document of appeal in November 2014 to the Supreme Court of Justice laying out the highly relevant reasons that this case should be resolved, and developed into a broader statement about indigenous rights”, Lagunes states. The lawyer adds that these are wider issues that the Court has been reticent to address, even in such important cases as those of the Yaqui tribe in Sonora, who have been fighting against Independencia Aqueduct, a waterway which will dry up a river sacred to the tribe.

The Court, the ejidatarios’ legal representative charges, has focused on the issue of consultation, but has never looked at deeper issues such as autonomy or the self-determination of indigenous peoples. Further, it wants to subject them to the authority of the State; “the indigenous peoples of Mexico, according to the government’s laws, have no rights to be truly respected as such, and are forced into particular political frames without having their rights as natives peoples recognized in any clear and specific manner”, relates Ricardo Lagunes.

The Supreme Court returned the document of appeal to Tuxtla Gutiérrez. For the lawyer it is no coincidence that the minister handling the case, the Chiapanecan Luna Ramos, is one of the most conservative, and he suggests that the decision to return the document was for political, rather than legal, reasons.

With an injunction, the Third Collegiate Tribunal ordered all the authorities of the government of Chiapas not to continue with their forcible eviction of San Sebastián Bachajón. The decision to reclaim lands on December 21 was due in part to a legal foundation giving the community court backing on the matter of their rights: “for the Tzeltal ejido members the legal arguments in their favour give them even more rights to continue defending their struggle and reclaiming their lands”, Lagunes declares.

Yesterday, January 12, around 160 members of the State Police arrived to the community of Xanil, located about five kilometres from the Agua Azul junction. This community is distinguished by having a large presence of groups supportive of the present government; there, as in Pamala, a community at the same distance from the junction but towards Palenque, they are organizing groups of people close to the terrains of conflict in which state police are active. As the lawyer explains, these groups are being organized to reinforce sections of the police in possible evictions.

On the highway that travels to Ocosingo from the Agua Azul zone, there is also a group of people simulating a blockade to put pressure on the government to give in to its demands to forcibly evict the ejidatarios of Bachajón. “For the ejidatarios it is clear that it is the very same government [behind these actions], because it is the government that has the greatest interest in evicting them from their land to eventually exercise power over it”, Lagunes declares.

The current atmosphere in this zone is one of tension. There is a continuous presence of police officers and helicopters, and the indigenous people are convinced that at any moment they will be forced from their land. Confronting this possibility, at the site of the blockade, is a group of international human rights observers who are accompanying the indigenous people, and are attentive to any violation of their rights.

The demand of the inhabitants of Bachajón is that the State and its security forces immediately leave their lands, and that the land commissioner commit to not handing their lands over to the government, as well as that the income made from the Agua Azul zone be managed by the ejido itself and not by a governmental entity. If not, such an entity should operate in a transparent fashion and orient its administration towards providing benefits to the community, Lagunes states.

“We ought to recognize that legal time does not correspond to social time, but perhaps next month there will be a fundamental resolution about the ruling and the violations of human rights on the part of State actors in the forced evictions, [nonetheless theejidatarios] will continue in their struggle, exploiting all possible legal and political channels”, the lawyer Ricardo Lagunes concludes.

 

Translated by Andrew Green

http://desinformemonos.org/2015/01/no-queremos-dialogo-con-el-gobierno-solo-que-se-vayan-de-nuestras-tierras-san-sebastian-bachajon-chiapas/

 

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Palenque And Agua Azul: The Dispossession Of The Indigenous Peoples Continues

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Since 2007 there has been a serious dispute (with injured, detained and so far two deaths) between the Tseltal indigenous of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón and the authorities, who are especially interested in the tourist potential of the territory that is located at the entrance to the Agua Azul Waterfalls on which they plan to build the Palenque Integrally Planned Centre.

JANUARY 16, 2015

Last Friday (January 9) indigenous Tseltales from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, in the municipality of Chilón, Chiapas, were violently evicted by state and federal police from a piece of land which they had recuperated on 21st December, and which had been seized from them in 2011 and before that in 2009. Two days later the ejidatarios blocked the Palenque-Ocosingo road and again were confronted by the state police, who wounded several with rubber bullets. It is not known if at this point the road is still blocked or whether there have been more confrontations, but what is clear is that the conflict over the ejido lands, which started in 2007, continues.

The ejido of Bachajón is located at the entrance to the famous waterfalls of Agua Azul, a place where it has been planned since 2000 to construct the Palenque Integrally Planned Centre, a tourism project promoted by FONATUR which has been halted since 2004, but last year studies for its implementation were resumed and furthermore the Palenque airport was opened.

In 2007 the ejidatarios put a tollbooth at the entrance to their territory to obtain a payment from the tourists visiting the waterfalls which was allocated, by decision of the assembly, to support the neediest families. In 2009 and 2011 they were evicted from the booth and in the last eviction they were also displaced from a large area of communal land, which they took back again in December.

In short, since 2007 there has been a serious dispute (with injured, detained and two deaths so far) among the ejidatarios -adherents to Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle – and the authorities, who have a special interest in that territory for its tourism potential.

The Commission for Dialogue with Indigenous Peoples of Mexico (CDPIM), in its paper entitled “Identified conflicts in indigenous peoples and communities,” of June 2014, has registered this problem as: “Violent dispossession of land of Tseltal ejidatarios of San Sebastian Bachajón, municipality of Chilón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, in order to promote the tourist project at the Agua Azul waterfalls, municipality of Tumbalá.”. That is to say, not only are they aware of it, but they know and recognize that it is for the tourism project. It is one more of the 175 conflicts that appear in the above text and one more among hundreds of others that are not registered, which are facing the indigenous peoples of our country through the dispossession of their lands for megaprojects of various kinds.

In the case of Bachajón it is for the Palenque Integrally Planned Centre, which plans to provide thousands of hotel rooms, shopping centres, a golf course, etc. It is integrally planned for a luxury tourism and profits of millions of pesos for domestic and foreign investors, but without much benefit for the indigenous who inhabit the region.

In other cases, the conflicts are over dispossession to build dams, super-highways, or for mining or windpower companies, etc, which far from benefiting the local populations do them harm and evict them from land which belongs to them. The CDPIM so far has not done much more than register the conflicts. We continue to hope for the laws and the “legislative harmonization” that they announced and offered a year ago, which would help to solve these problems now, but have failed to materialise, I believe, because they go against the interests of big business and its partners and allies, the politicians in power.

@yotlacuila

http://www.animalpolitico.com/blogueros-codices-geek/2015/01/16/palenque-y-agua-azul-el-despojo-los-pueblos-indigenas-continua/

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Communiqué From The Ejido San Sebastían Bachajón 16th January, 2015

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FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJÓN, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 16th JANUARY, 2015

To the Good Government Juntas

To the General Command of the Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee of the Zapatista National Liberation Army

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world

Compañeros and compañeras, we inform you that we continue in the struggle for the defence of our territory and against dispossession by the bad government which is still keeping its police in the lands that belong to us after they attacked our compañeros and compañeras with heavy calibre firearms and rubber bullets. But our compañeros and compañeras with courage and dignity told the minions of the bad government that the lands are not for sale, that we do not want the security forces and violence in our community, we just want to live peacefully, we do not want their projects of death and forced displacement.

We remain peacefully at the Agua Azul turning, spreading the word of the struggle of the ejido to all visitors to the Agua Azul Waterfalls and to people traveling on the road between Ocosingo and Palenque, our organization is allowing the passage of all the people, we disclaim what people in the government and business are saying, they are spreading misinformation about our struggle sowing rumours that the road is closed and that we promote violence, it is the bad government and their police henchmen  who sow violence.

We share an invitation to all the compañeros and compañeras to join us on Sunday 18th January at CIDECI for worldwide Forum against dispossession and share our words.

We also want to express our thanks to the international compañeros and compañeras who participated in the caravan that has completed its work, for their good hearts and for accompanying our struggle in times of high tension; their presence was important.

From the northern zone of the state of Chiapas, the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón send our combative greetings.

Never again a Mexico without us

Attentively

Land and Freedom! Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

Immediate presentation of the 43 missing of Ayotzinapa!

JUSTICE FOR AYOTZINAPA, ACTEAL, ABC, ATENCO!

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Final Report From The Sixth International Caravan In Support Of San Sebastián Bachajón

Sixth International Caravan in Support of San Sebastián Bachajón leaves Bachajon

January 16, 2015

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After several very busy days as a result of the persecution on the part of the bad government towards the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, the Sixth International Caravan in Support of San Sebastián Bachajón leaves Bachajón after completing its mission as human rights observers.

During their stay, members of the Sixth International Caravan in Support of San Sebastián Bachajón observed and exposed the absurd aggressiveness displayed by the forces of the bad government in their obsession to comply with the orders of their leaders – who have it all and want it all – to dispossess the Tzeltal indigenous communities of their legitimate lands.

The members of the caravan leave more inspired than ever. They return to their corners of the planet enthusiastic to continue with their local struggles and committed to continue supporting the adherents to the Sixth from San Sebastián Bachajón.

For them it was a great honour to spend these days with a people who struggle with dignity and courage. The members of the Sixth International Caravan in Support of San Sebastián Bachajón return to their corners of struggle with more inspiration than ever. At the same time, they call on people of good heart to remain alert for any possible aggression by the bad government and its henchmen towards the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón. 

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First Report from the Sixth International Caravan on their visit to San Sebastián Bachajón. 

Brief Summary of Events in the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón since the recuperation of their lands on 21st December, 2014

From the “Sixth International Caravan”

 

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On December 21, 2014, during the inauguration of the World Festival of Resistances and Rebellions Against Capitalism in Mexico, compañeros from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón in northern Chiapas, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, announced that in the morning of that same day they had reclaimed the lands which were dispossessed from them on February 2, 2011, by the government of Juan Sabines Guerrero and Noe Castañón León, in complicity with the government-supporting ejidal commissioner Francisco Guzmán Jiménez. The participants in the World Festival were asked for their support and solidarity in the defence of their recovered territories.

Approximately 400 women, children, young people, men, and elders peacefully took the common lands in the area of endowment of the ejido, located on the border with the municipality of Tumbalá and near to the access to the Agua Azul Waterfalls ecotourism centre, a place where the Chiapas State and Federal Government built a toll booth operated by the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) and the Ministry of  Finance of Chiapas, as well as a Centre of Attention for  Emergency Civil Protection and an abandoned supposed medical practice. Their resistance against police and paramilitary repression has lasted for more than six years of struggle. During this period there have been extrajudicial killings such as Juan Vázquez Guzman and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, and  the unjust imprisonment of more than 120 compañer@s. Three of them, Juan Antonio  Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández, still remain in prison, where they have been tortured by the state. These acts of repression by the government have not diminished their conviction to regain their land; on the contrary, this conviction has only been strengthened by the pain suffered because of their fallen compañer@s:

“For all these injustices by the bad government that prefers to see us dead or in prison, living in poverty and marginalization because they have taken away our land to give to corporations and corrupt politicians so they can get richer while our communities die of hunger … for this reason, as an organisation our communities in assembly decided today to recover the lands that were dispossessed from them by the bad government.”                        – Communiqué from San Sebastián Bachajón, 21st December, 2014

In the days after the initial taking of the lands, they received several threats of eviction and repression on the part of the security forces and paramilitary groups which were organized in cooperation with the ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez, and his vigilance councillor, Samuel Díaz Guzmán. On 30th December, representatives of the government of Chiapas demanded that the ejidatarios of the Sixth leave the reclaimed lands in order to enable a dialogue between them and the government-supporting ejidatarios. This demand was accompanied by threats of eviction and arrest should they refuse to leave the reclaimed lands.

 

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Faced with these threats, the compañer@s of Bachajón continued to keep control of the recuperated lands while the traffic of tourists flowed normally. Hundreds of compañer@s in balaclavas guarded the entrance to the waterfalls, which did not seem to trouble the tourists. They never realized that there were 24 hours guards hidden in the trees on both sides of the road, watching to see who was coming. Each person, young and old, woman and man stood guard for three consecutive days without sleep, in shifts of fifteen days in total. In the 18 days of recovery of the lands, the number of compañer@s who came from different villages of ejido increased to more than 500.

On 30th December, between 40 and 50 people, paid and organized by the ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez, blocked the roads from San Cristobal-Palenque and San Cristobal-Chilón in the villages of Temó and Pamalá, not only to demand the intervention of the public forces but also to portray these events as an intra-community conflict which only involved the internal politics of the community of Bachajón and not the interests of the Government and tourist enterprises.

On 9th January, at 6.30 am, more than 900 members of the state and federal forces violently evicted the compeñer@s of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón. During the attack, eight people from San Sebastián Bachajón were disappeared and three of them were abducted in an attempt to arrest them, but all managed to free themselves. In a communiqué the same day the ejidatarios denounced the attack:

“The bad government through the government secretary Eduardo Aguilar Ramirez jokes that they have already recovered the toll booth as if it were their property or territory, their real interest is to dispossess our land, they are the real shameless and corrupt traitors to the country, but their bad policies will not put an end to our struggle because we will not let them continue dispossessing us at their pleasure. We will continue our actions in defence of the Mother Earth.”

The next day the free media confirmed the occupation of the lands by the security forces and documented the presence of 10 police trucks, many white trucks full of police in the area of the recovered territories and two police trucks parked on the premises of the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection of the State of Chiapas.

The ejidatarios denounced that accomplices of the state police had threatened the compañeros Jeremiah Hernandez and Francisco Cruz Jimenez Hernandez, from Xanil community, part of the ejido. These compañeros now fear for their lives.

In a communiqué released on 10th January the ejidatarios said that the eviction “does not make our heart sad but fills it with greater courage to strengthen the movement and the defence of the land and territory.” They also requested that all the compañer@s in solidarity remain alert because they had heard “strong rumours” that the police were pointing out their homes in order to arrest them and that they were organizing to evict them from the headquarters of their organization in Nah Choj.

On 11th January the ejidatarios returned to try to retake their lands. At 6.30 am the compañer@s took and blocked the Agua Azul turning. In response the state police at a distance of five hundred metres blocked the road with trees and from the barricade fired at the ejidatarios for twenty minutes. There were two injured by rubber bullets. One of the ejidatarios, who answers to the name of Juan Pérez Moreno, was wounded in the left arm by a heavy calibre bullet. The ejidatarios held firm against the attack and at 7.30 am they drove back the police.

 

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The next day, 12th January, a police helicopter overflew the community of Xanil, taking pictures of the houses of the coordinators of the resistance. At the same time, groups of paramilitaries from the community of Pamalha, headed by Manuel Jimenez Moreno, and from the community of Xanil led by Juan Alvaro Moreno, Jeremiah Cruz Hernandez and Francisco Jimenez Hernandez moved towards the dispossessed territories to present a possible strengthening of the police assault against the adherents to the Sixth. The same day the “Sixth International Caravan in Support of San Sebastián Bachajón” arrived to offer them support and so to prevent further aggression. The International Caravan includes members from different countries including Colombia, France, the United States and Mexico.

At this time, the compañer@s are strongly maintaining the roadblock, which yesterday became intermittent instead of permanent. They ask us to remain watching for more attacks on the roadblock, and that we all spread the word of their dignified struggle through the different media available.

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News From Bachajón

14th January, 2015

Medios Libres

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The ejidatarios adherents to the Sixth from San Sebastian Bachajón have reported that they have modified the roadblock. It is now no longer permanent, but intermittent to allow periods of time when vehicles can pass through. They hold the three levels of government responsible for any attack on their lives or personal integrity as a result of their actions in defence of the mother earth.

On Monday the State Commission for Human Rights issued precautionary measures to protect the safety and to  investigate the alleged disappearance of eight Tzeltal indigenous during the eviction operation against the community of Bachajón.

Also on Monday, around 160 members of the state police arrived at the community of Xanil, which is about 5 kilometres from the Agua Azul intersection. This community has a large number of government sympathisers. Similarly in Pamala, which is about the same distance away but in the direction of Palenque, they are organizing groups of people to reinforce the security forces in case of a possible eviction.

On the road to Ocosingo a group of people are simulating a roadblock intended to pressure the government to respond to their demand to evict the ejidatarios of Bachajon, which is believed to have been organised by the government itself.

The area remains tense, with the continuing presence of police and helicopters. The indigenous are expecting an attempt to evict them at any time. They are supported by a brigade of internationals who are accompanying the community against any violation of their rights, and who arrived recently in a caravan (convoy.)

The people of Bachajon demand that the state and its security forces leave their lands immediately and that the ejidal commissioner promises not to hand their lands over to the government. They also demand that the income from the Agua Azul area be administered transparently for the benefit of the ejido itself and not for some government agency.

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Movements from the United States and France have visited the recuperated lands of the indigenous from Bachajón opposite the Agua Azul Waterfalls

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By: Aldabi Olvera, January 9, 2015

“We thank you for coming distances from other countries to visit and support us, in comparison to our state and the Mexican Republic which has been trampling on us,” the indigenous spokesman told the group which has just arrived in the recuperated office.

About 200 children, men and women applauded and showed a banner: “Welcome to the compañer@s of the international brigades in solidarity and in defence of the Mother Earth and territory.”

“It is so good that you have a good heart and are interested in the struggles of the indigenous peoples for land and territory,” said the host again.

One by one the groups that had arrived in Bachajón, Chiapas, were presented:

Members of the struggle against the airport at Notre Dame Des-Landes, France; campesinos from the collective “we will not be silent” which opposes inserting chips in animals and the industrialization of agriculture; the Committee of solidarity with the peoples of Chiapas.

In addition, the Committee of the true word from Alisal, San Francisco, California, the collective “No One Leaves/ Nadie se Mude”, from Springfield, Massachusetts, which opposes the  evictions of migrants; the “First of May” Alliance which founded Radio Zapata in 1994, and Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York.

Having been participants in the World Festival of Resistances and Rebellions Against Capitalism, on Monday 5th January the movements and groups attended a rally organized by the Tzeltal indigenous adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, who on 21st December last year reclaimed the entrance to the waterfalls of Agua Azul, which is located within its ejidal territory.

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The organization Las Abejas of Acteal sent a letter in support of the Tseltales of Bachajón. Similarly, a worldwide statement of support from 14 different countries was read at the event.

A communiqué from San Sebastián was also read to the Sixth where it was explained that on 11th February, 2011 the former ejidal Commissioner Francisco Guzmán Jiménez signed agreements with the government and Conam for the building of infrastructure within the territory of the ejido. They denounced repression, harassment, killings and arrests.

“We are open to dialogue with the ejidatarios of San Sebastián to reach a single solution to the matter of the ejido as we are the rightful legitimate owners of the land and in defence of Mother Earth,” said the spokesman for Bachajón, whose face was covered with a balaclava.

A call was made to the alternative media, human rights centres and civil society to remain aware of the situation.

Finally, a collective statement from groups in England joined together in the UK Zapatista Solidarity Network was read.

A large number of ejidatarios attended the event who are not part of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, but who occupy the recovered territory, and are also committed to maintaining the territorial integrity of Bachajón.

A teacher from the community of Alan Sakun said:

“I have my full rights to participate in a movement where there is no dispute, there is no war, a good path is followed, what we want is to live in peace, in harmony. Let us reach a good agreement with the ejidatarios on equitable distribution, let us not cause problems with the others because they are provoking these.”

“I am going to take to the United States what is a new imagination to the people there who are fighting the bad government, yesterday walking with you I learned that autonomy is a human being and we walk together,” said the representative of Nadie se Mude in farewell.

From New York to Bachajón

The communiqués brought from abroad were read by Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York, which has been linked with Bachajón since 2011, during the dispossession and repression suffered by the people for holding on to a toll booth which is in their territory. At that time, the town had 117 prisoners, of whom 10 were sentenced; they were released as a result of national and international pressure.

The movement of migrants [among other things] carried out various actions outside the Mexican Embassy, coordinated the Worldwide Day for the Bachajón Five, and through various video messages collaborated with Juan Vázquez Guzmán the Bachajón spokesperson until his assassination in 2013.

“I have returned here and it fills me with sadness that Juan was murdered; we say in New York that Juan Vázquez Guzmán still lives in our hearts. The struggle of the adherents of Bachajón has been a great inspiration for us in El Barrio in New York,” said their spokesperson, “the bad government wants to move us from our homes, we are in struggle against displacement”.

“We know we had to migrate to the United States due to the political and economic system of the bad government in Mexico, but although we are far away in New York we think it is important to support the struggle of Bachajón,” said the spokesperson for Movement for Justice in el Barrio from New York.

Since then, the movement primarily composed of women, has visited the Tzeltal community three times.

Recuperation in the face of dispossession

Since they decided to recover their territory, the indigenous of Bachajón have lived intense days. Reinforcements arrived to maintain their position from all the population centres of the ejido.

Supporters of the current ejidal commissioner blocked the road from Palenque to San Cristobal de las Casas charging a hundred dollars and in return giving out a flier accusing the adherents to the Sixth (they called them  the Other Campaign, which has not existed since 2013) of murder and labelling them as criminals.

However, the adherents are those who have suffered imprisonment and murder. The groups that came from abroad even visited the tomb of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and met with his brother.

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The affected lands have an area of 1100 hectares. Within them are five communities which could be relocated, if the land begins to be used for tourist megaprojects at the Agua Azul waterfalls.

“If the amparo has a favourable outcome, it is not only for us, it is for all the ejido” says the spokesperson.

Now solidarity is needed, whether for the roadblock, they even need muralists, or to visit the three prisoners the organization has in the prison at Yajalón. There is a state police truck at the entrance to Xanil and another at the Waterfalls. The page where calls may come from is https://vivabachajon.wordpress.com

 

Please note, this article was written before the dispossession of January 9th

http://masde131.com/2015/01/movimientos-de-estados-unidos-y-francia-visitaron-tierras-recuperadas-de-indigenas-de-bachajon-frente-a-cascadas-de-agua-azul/

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Worldwide Pronouncement In Support Of The Ejidatarios Of San Sebastián Bachajón, Adherents To The Sixth, 11th January, 2015

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To our sisters and brothers from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón:

To our Zapatista sisters and brothers:

To our compañer@s from the Sixth national and international:

To the Committees of the True Word:

To civil society in Mexico and worldwide:

Sisters and Brothers:

Compañeras and Compañeros:

To the compañeras and compañeros of San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration, we let you know you are not alone in your dignified struggle to defend your ejidal territory which you inherited from your ancestors, and the common lands which have been stolen from you, for the third time, by the bad government.

From different corners of the world, including Springfield, Massachusetts, USA; New York, USA; Alisal, California, USA; Calcutta, India; Dorset, England, and Edinburgh, Scotland, we were outraged to learn that on 9th January, at approximately 6.30 am, the three levels of bad government, with a brutal and excessive force of more than 900 members of the federal and state police, evicted our compañeras and compañeros from the community of Bachajón who had been guarding the reclaimed lands since 21st December. Hours later, the bad government continued to demonstrate their stupidity and criminal attitude.

An example of this stupidity was exhibited by the Government Secretary Eduardo Aguilar Ramirez, who mockingly and mistakenly said that they had now recovered the toll booth (the access route to the Agua Azul waterfalls).

Compañeras and compañeros, your resistance is admirable and evidence of your walking along the three paths of the Zapatistas: those of Not Surrendering, Not Selling Out and Not Giving Up. Despite the dangers of death, imprisonment, and forced disappearance, you decided to try to recover your lands near the Agua Azul Waterfalls today, 11th January, in the morning. As expected, the bad government responded in the only way it knows how to act: with violence. Two of our compañeros were injured. Even so, after an hour of resistance, you drove back the forces of the bad government. There is a threat of further attacks by the bad government and its henchmen (the government-supporting ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón, Alejandro Moreno Gómez, and the vigilance councillor, Samuel Díaz Guzmán). Given all this, we want you to remember that you are not alone.

Compañeras and compañeros of San Sebastián Bachajón, you speak with truth and reason is on your side. On 9th January, 2015, representatives of the bad government, without shame, corrupt and traitors to the motherland committed a great robbery against you. The true interest of these tyrants is to dispossess you from your lands and to give them over to the elite to develop their tourist megaprojects. For us, it has been and will be a great honour to walk with you the path of your dignified struggle in defence of your territory and the mother earth.

For now, we share the following demands:

  • We demand a full and fair investigation into the material and intellectual authors of the assassinations of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, and punishment of those responsible
  • Respect for the fundamental human rights of the indigenous Tzeltal peoples of San Sebastián Bachajón, and guarantees for their life, personal security and integrity
  • Respect and guarantees for their right to the full use and enjoyment of their territory and to the construction of their autonomy and self-determination as indigenous peoples, according to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, in Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization, in Article 2 of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States, and in the Accords of San Andrés Sakam’chen de los Pobres.
  • A fair, impartial and objective resolution of amparo 274/2011
  • Immediate freedom for the prisoners Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano, Roberto Gómez Hernández, Santiago Moreno Pérez, Emilio Jiménez Gómez and Esteban Gómez Jiménez.
  • An end to the plunder and dispossession, the theft of commons, the militarisation of the area, and to the threats and violence being experienced, and an end to the criminalisation of those who struggle for the wellbeing of their peoples and in defence of their natural resources and the mother earth

 

Finally, we call on all the adherents to the Sixth Declaration to carry out actions of solidarity and fellowship to accompany the dignified struggle of the people of San Sebastián Bachajón.

 

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¡Juan Vázquez Guzmán Vive, la Lucha de Bachajón sigue!

¡Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Vive, la Lucha de Bachajón sigue!

 

Movement for Justice in El Barrio, New York

Springfield No One Leaves/ Nadie se Mude, Massachusetts, US

Committee of the True Word from Alisal, California, US

Committee of the True Word from Calcutta, India

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group, England

Committee of the True Word from South-West England

Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group, Scotland

 

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Latest news from Bachajón

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Tzeltal indigenous under paramilitary threat.

January 13, 2015 – Ejidatarios from Bachajón reported that right now paramilitaries from Pamalha community, led by Manuel Jiménez Moreno and from Xanil community, led by Juan Alvaro Moreno, Jeremiah Cruz Hernandez and Francisco Jimenez Hernandez are heading towards the dispossessed lands, where the Chiapas State Police are stationed, to reinforce a possible eviction and aggression against the compañeros.

The police trucks are no longer there and the police were walking towards Tumbalá, to enter via the waterfalls of Agua Azul; what could happen is that these groups, which are close to the ejidal Commissioner, and the police could displace the ejidatarios.

http://komanilel.org/2015/01/12/ultimas-noticias-sobre-bachajon/

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160 Members Of The State Police Are Heading Towards The Roadblock Of The Ejidatarios Of San Sebastián Bachajón

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January 12, 2015

Ejidatarios adherents to the sixth from Bachajón denounce that at this moment about 160 members of the state preventive police are heading from Ocosingo to the place where the compañeros are maintaining the roadblock (the Agua Azul crossroads), in three large and two small police trucks.

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Caravan Of The Sixth International To Go To Bachajón To Deter Repression Against The Indigenous Community Of San Sebastián Bachajón

 

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Taking into account the ability of the federal, municipal and state forces and criminal groups to coordinate to attack and disappear the Ayotzinapa student teachers, considering the ease with which the Mexican armed forces execute civilians as they did in Tlatlaya, and remembering the Acteal massacre, covertly encouraged by the bad government, we are currently extremely concerned for the physical and psychological safety of the indigenous community of San Sebastián Bachajón.

The community of San Sebastián Bachajón has been struggling for over six years to regain their communal lands, which have been dispossessed by the bad government through corrupt practices and terrorist actions. During these six years, two members of this community have been murdered, and 120 have been imprisoned and released through national and international solidarity, but three of them are still in prison. As recently as 9th January, 2015, the bad government made use of more than 900 armed agents to evict the community again after having rescued their territory on 21st December 2014. Today, January 11, 2015, this community was attacked while demanding the withdrawal from their community of the forces of the bad government. Two members of this community were injured.

The indigenous community of San Sebastián Bachajón fears an attack in the coming days by the forces of the bad government and paramilitary groups.

In response to the invitation from the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón we, men and women of conscience and members of the national and international community, adherents to the Sixth, decided to travel in a caravan to San Sebastián Bachajón. We hope that our presence may deter acts of aggression by the bad government and create a promising environment for dialogue and respect for the ejidal lands of this community.

We ask all the adherents to the national and international Sixth to remain on alert for any attempt at aggression that may occur on the part of those from above towards the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón and the members of the “Caravan of the Sixth International in support of San Sebastián Bachajón.”

Adherents to the Sixth and human rights defenders.

 

http://kolectivozero.blogspot.mx/2015/01/caravana-sexta-internacional-para.html

 

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More Than 50 Organisations And Individuals Denounce Dispossession And Violence In San Sebastián Bachajón

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To the Good Government Juntas and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the Zapatista support bases

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the attendees at the World Festival of Resistances and Rebellions

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the free and independent media

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world  

 

Sisters, brothers,

Compañeros, Compañeras,

On the morning of 9th January nearly 1,000 members of the Federal and State police evicted the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón from part of their territory. They had recuperated these lands on 21st December 21, 2014, after the bad government had violently expropriated them on 2nd February, 2011. Also during this police operation 8 ejidatarios were detained, luckily they managed to return safely to their compañeros a few hours later.

The recovery of the territory, where the renowned tourist area of the Agua Azul waterfalls is situated, was undertaken peacefully, seeking dialogue with the people themselves. At no time did the compañeros use force. The bad government never wanted to facilitate dialogue between the parties, their only response was to send more agents of the police to evict the compañeros who were guarding their own lands.

The bad government of Mexico steals lands from the campesinos to use them for the implementation of megaprojects. They call this particular megaproject the “Palenque Integrally Planned Centre” (CIPP). The bad government wants to implement in that area luxury hotels, golf courses, a superhighway, and they want to evict the people of Bachajón, with the loss of everything.

There has never been a consultation about this plan with the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, as laid down in Convention 169 of the ILO and the San Andrés Accords. There has only been repression and dispossession. Since 2011 the government and companies have tried to impose their megaproject, ignoring their own laws and an amparo that was gained by the ejidatarios in favour of their territory.

Who would accept being dispossessed of their land without their consent? Who would give thanks if their land was destroyed and plundered for the benefit of a few millionaires? Not in Chiapas, nor anywhere in the world where dignity still exists, that which cannot be bought, and is not for sale, but is redeemed on behalf of what is called “progress”, another disguise of capitalist accumulation.

The government of Mexico and Chiapas mocks the original peoples, provoking wars and dispossessions, praising actions of repression such as the aforementioned eviction. We saw how the secretary of government was proud to have retaken the tollbooth, but what is he proud of? Of having done another service for the capitalists who live from dispossessing the riches of Mexico.

We denounce the repression from the three levels of bad government, who do not allow the dignified people of Bachajón to live in peace, those who seek autonomous forms of life and alternatives to the capitalist model. We remember and denounce that government harassment led to the murders of two compañeros from the local organization: Juan Vázquez Guzmán, on 24th April, 2013, and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, on 21st March 2014. The bad government also uses prison to persecute the organized ejidatarios, we remember the unjust arrest of Santiago Moreno Pérez, Emilio Jiménez Gómez and Esteban Gómez Jímenez; and of Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández; the last three were tortured by the Municipal Police from Chilón on 16th September, 2014.

Today, 11th January, the situation remains very tense. The ejidatarios remain in struggle with various protest actions, while the bad government shows no mercy in repressing them. We report that police shot at the compañeros with rubber bullets injuring several. Also bullet cases were collected as evidence that the public security forces shot at the ejidatarios who were demonstrating. We strongly denounce this umpteenth assault by the bad government.

We remain aware of the situation; no dispossession will stop the struggle of Bachajón and of all those people in the world who are defending life and nature in the face of death and destruction. There will be no place in the world what is already notorious is not known: the murderous Mexican government represses and usurps.

 

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

Freedom for political prisoners!

If you touch one of us, you touch all of us!
Frente Civico Tonalteco y el Consejo Autonomo Regional de la Zona Costa de Chiapas,
Maderas del Pueblo del Sureste, Ac, Mexico
Red Latinoamericana de Lille, Francia
Proyecto 20zln, italia
ASSI (Acción Social Sindical Internacionalista)
CGT – Estado español
Comitato Chiapas “Maribel” – Bergamo, italia
Gruppe B.A.S.T.A., Münster, Alemania
Solidaridad directa con Chiapas, Suiza.
Red de Solidaridad con los Zapatistas del Reino Unido:
Colectivo Zapatista, Manchester
Colectivo de Aprendizaje y Enseñanza Zapatista del Reino Unido
Grupo Solidaridad con Chiapas, Dorset
Grupo Solidaridad con Chiapas, Edimburgo
Grupo Solidaridad con México, Londres
Grupo Solidaridad con los Zapatistas – Essex
KIPTIK, Bristol
Servicio de Traducción Zapatista del Reino Unido
Lento Pero Avanzo, Canada
Alternative libertaire, Francia
Ass. Solidaria Cafè Rebeldía-Infoespai,
Assocaciacion Espoir Chiapas / Esperanza Chiapas, Francia
Kolectivo BoCa En BoCa, Chiapas, Mexico
Kolectivo Zero, Chiapas, Mexico
Espacio Social y Cultural la Karakola, Mexico
Centro de Documentación sobre Zapatismo -CEDOZ-
Associazione Ya Basta! Milano, Italia
Colectivo Azcapotzalco adherente a la Sexta, La Voz del Anáhuac,
Biblioteca Popular, Mexico
Kolectivo Pozol, Chiapas Mexico
Collectif bon pied bon œil, Francia
Plataforma de Solidaridad con Chiapas y Guatemala de Madrid
Union syndicale Solidaires, Francia
Fédération SUD éducation, Francia
Caracol Solidario, Francia

L’Adhesiva Barcelona
Movement For Justice In El Barrio, Nueva York, Estados Unidos

La Pirata:
*Nodo Solidale (Italia y México)
*Colectivo Zapatista de Lugano (Suiza)
*Nomads (Italia y Berlin)
*Adherentes individuales

Mut Vitz 13, Marseille, Francia,

Les 3 passants, Paris, Francia

Grupo de Trabajo No Estamos Todxs

Grains de Sable (Francia-Mexico)
Colectivo Ik’
Beatriz Amor Vicepresidente APDH La Costa Buenos Aires-Argentina

Carole radureau, Francia

Ignacio Perez Perez
Adriana Garcia Ruiz
Héctor Miguel Sánchez Rodríguez, Mexico
Lidiana Moreno Moreno
Juan Velasco Torre
Ernesto Torre Torre
Dionicio Escobedo Escobedo
Martin Ribera Torres.
Ector Mendoza Xochila.
Ernestina Rivera torres.
Alcachofa yano yanos
Antonio lucreci perez
Rogelio torre Rapid
Manuel Vadidio Doret.
Monica. Sfre. Medoza.
Marcos Vazquez Vaxquez.
Juan Gutierez Gutierrez
Eduardo Gutieres Torrez
Patrocino Hemir Torrrez
Alfredo Sanchez Lupillo
Carmela Mened Mened.
Chofis torrrez torrez.
Alberto Ruiz Ruiz
Margarita Ruiz Ruiz.
Eva. Llanos llanos.
Pascual toledo Toledo
Antonio Alvarez Alvarez
Beatris mojante Ruiz.
Xochil. Ruiz Petex
Tebeca Metello Montello
Ernesto Ponse. Ruiz.
Enrique Leon Ponce.
Jacobo Ronis Ruiz .
Octavio Ruiz Oryrga.
Unberto cholik cholik.
Fernando chikay chikay.
Oscar ruiz cikay .
Eucevio ruiz llanos

 

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Police shoot at indigenous Tseltales from San Sebastián Bachajón when they try to recover their lands near the Agua Azul waterfalls.

 

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January 11, 2015

#AlertaBachajón

The adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle blocked the turning to the waterfalls of Agua Azul at 6.30 am in resistance against the dispossession of their lands on 9th January.

The state police placed barricades of trees five hundred meters from the turning to the waterfalls, while shooting at them with rubber bullets and live ammunition from a van and a truck of the local and state police.

10931341_900188783358896_4907611684628263069_nThe attack lasted about fifteen to twenty minutes. At the moment there are thought to be two who have been injured by rubber bullets. Furthermore bullet casings from firearms were found on the ground.

The indigenous did not retreat before the attack and drove the police back at half past seven.

10917302_900188773358897_5962872939457640143_nThe demand of the Tseltal adherents to the Sixth is that the police leave the land of Bachajón. The ejidatarios will not allow them dispossess them again from those lands of which they are the legitimate owners.

Reports say that Juan Pérez Moreno, from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón was wounded in his left arm. The area remains tense.

 

http://komanilel.org/2015/01/11/alertabachajon-policia-dispara-a-indigenas-tseltales-de-san-sebastian-bachajon-cuando-intentaron-recuperar-sus-tierras-frente-a-las-cascadas-de-agua-azul/

 

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Communiqué from the Ejido San Sebastían Bachajón 10th January, 2015

FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJÓN, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 10th JANUARY, 2015

 

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To the Good Government Juntas

To the General Command of the Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee of the Zapatista National Liberation Army

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world

Compañeros and compañeras, our grandfathers and grandmothers taught us that the struggle for life, dignity and the land lasts our whole life, that the defence of mother earth is never ending, this is why the eviction yesterday, 9th January, by the bad government does not make our heart sad but fills it with more courage to make the movement stronger in the defence of land and territory.

We want to tell the criminal and self-proclaimed governor of Chiapas Manuel Velasco Coello alias Blondie and his faithful lackey the government secretary Eduardo Ramirez Aguilar as well as the puppet Peña Nieto the supreme paramilitary leader that our lands are not for sale, they will not make their great ecotourism businesses and super highways on our territory, we will not allow them to displace communities and increase poverty just so they can become richer at the expense of our suffering. The bad government is doing crap when it robs the indigenous of their lands and territories for international economic projects, but it does not care if it humiliates the poor, the same government does not respect the laws, it mocks the indigenous when it takes away their lands, these bad governments mock the poor because they think that power will last them a lifetime, but someday they will fall and you will see that the people themselves will do justice.

The bad government does business with politics and when people and communities do not do as it wishes it sends its police, kills, imprisons, tortures, disappears, violates and commits massacres, as in Acteal, Atenco, Ayotzinapa and many cases of violations of the rights of the people because this bad government is not there to serve the people, it takes advantage of the people, robs the people, so that the people now have to wake up and rise up to defend their rights.

Increasingly the brothers and sisters of San Sebastián Bachajón are waking up and opening their eyes, they no longer believe in the lies of the ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez and vigilance councillor Samuel Diaz Guzman, who are minions of the bad government. The people have now realized the bad policies of these ejido representatives and how they cheat and betray the communities. We are going to keep fighting and adding more brothers and sisters to our struggle for the defence of the land, the commissioner does not have people walking with him, it is only the ways of the bad government which support him with money, projects, consultants of the misnamed political operators, and mainly with the police and army, this is the only way they can retain power, there is no democracy or respect for the law, the people have no other way to defend themselves.

We are neither beaten nor defeated, on the contrary, since 21st December we have shown the government that the people command and the government obeys, although they do not like it and it gives them bellyache, our people continue in the struggle for the defence of the land, for the release of our unjustly imprisoned compañeros and against any injustice committed against our compañeros and compañeras from the communities in resistance in Mexico and the world.

The bad government may have money, property, luxury goods that we the poor do not have, but what we do have is dignity and love for our history, culture and territory and we are ready to defend it at any cost, for the life and death of our compañeros Juan Vázquez Guzman and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano we will not rest until we see our people free from repression and injustice.

Death to the bad government and life to the dignified people in resistance.

We respectfully request that all the compañeros and compañeras in solidarity with our struggle remain alert, because there are strong rumours that the lackeys of the commissioner and the bad government are pointing out the homes of our compañeros so they can arrest them and apparently they are organizing an eviction of the headquarters of our organization in Nah Choj.

We invite you, in your times and geographies to support us in whatever way you can and we also invite those willing and able to visit us so as to encourage our hearts.

From the northern zone of the state of Chiapas, the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón send our combative greetings.

Never again a Mexico without us

Attentively

Land and Freedom! Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

Immediate presentation of the 43 missing of Ayotzinapa!

JUSTICE FOR AYOTZINAPA, ACTEAL, ABC, ATENCO!

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Latest News From San Sebastian Bachajón

 

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The compañeros of Ejido San Sebastian Bachajón have sent the following information: After being missing for 8 hours, the compañeros Mariano Pérez Álvaro, Miguel Jiménez Silvano, Juan Deara Perez, Antonio Gomez Estrada, Manuel Gómez Estrada, Juan Gomez Estrada, Pacual Gómez Álvaro and Martín Álvaro Deara were located in another community 12 kilometres away. They are fine, and say that they managed to escape from the hands of the police, who tried to seize them.

When over 800 state police attacked them, the men and women in the camp who were guarding the land had to escape to the jungle, mountain, hills and ravines.

A group from the free media found that the police are still guarding the recovered territory. There were two state police trucks, and several white vans which were full of police. The detachment there came from different places like Simojovel, Bochil and Tapachula.

1618662_771571786252171_832348259172210226_nWe ask you to continue to monitor the situation.

A cultural action in support of San Sebastian Bachajon will be held in San Cristobal de las Casas on Sunday morning.

 

There are 2 petitions to sign, and people are asked to sign both if possible:

http://redtdt.org.mx/2015/01/ejido-san-sebastian-bachajon-en-riesgo-de-ser-desalojado-nuevamente/

https://www.change.org/p/emilio-%C3%A1lvarez-icaza-respeto-a-la-autodeterminaci%C3%B3n-del-ejido-tzeltal-san-sebasti%C3%A1n-bachaj%C3%B3n?recruiter=31811466

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Chiapas Government Evicts Ejidatarios Of Bachajón From Their Own Lands

 

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Today, Friday 9 January 2015, about 900 members of the federal and state police came to the territory which the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the EZLN, had recovered on December 21, 2014.

They violently evicted the people who were guarding the land. It is noteworthy that among the people who defended this land were children, women and elderly people.

In a letter which came from this ejido, they say that Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar, general secretary of the state government of Chiapas “jokes that they have now recovered the toll booth as if it were their property or territory, their real interest is to dispossess us from our land, they are the true shameless traitors of the motherland.”

Here is the full letter where the facts are explained:

Compañeros and compañeras

Today at about 6.30 am over 900 members of the federal and state police evicted our compañeros and compañeras who were safeguarding the lands we recovered last December 21st.

The bad government, through the government secretary Eduardo ramirez aguilar, mocks that they have already recovered the toll booth as if it was their property or territory, their real interest is to dispossess our land, they are the true shameless corrupt traitors to the country, but their bad politics will not put an end to our just struggle because we will not let them continue to dispossess us as they please. We will continue our actions in defence of the Mother Earth.

We inform you compañeros and compañeras that our following compañeros are disappeared and we hold the bad government, as well as the Commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gomez and the security councillor Samuel Diaz guzman, responsible for their lives and personal integrity:

  1. Mariano Pérez Álvaro
  2. Miguel Jiménez silvano
  3. Deara Juan Perez.
  4. Antonio Gómez Estrada
  5. Manuel Gómez Estrada
  6. Juan Gomez Estrada
  7. Alvaro Pascual Gomez
  8. Álvaro Martín Deara

We will give more information later, for now this is all, compañeros and compañeras, we ask you to remain alert and to disseminate this information

combative greetings

 

08-01-2015-23-50-02

 

 

Sign the petition: http://redtdt.org.mx/2015/01/ejido-san-sebastian-bachajon-en-riesgo-de-ser-desalojado-nuevamente/

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http://komanilel.org/2015/01/09/gobierno-de-chiapas-desaloja-a-ejidatarios-de-bachajon-de-sus-propias-tierras/

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The Bad Government Evicts The Compañeros Of San Sebastián Bachajon From Their Lands

 

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January 9, 2015

Our compas, indigenous Tseltales adherents of the Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona, who have been recuperating their ancestral lands of San Sebastián Bachajón in the heart of the Waterfalls of Agua Azul in Chiapas, Mexico were violently evicted this morning (6:30AM) by 900 elements of federal and state police of the bad government.
The following 8 Tseltales have been disappeared:

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1. Mariano Pérez Álvaro
2. Miguel Jiménez silvano
3. Juan Deara Perez.
4. Antonio Gómez Estrada
5. Manuel Gómez Estrada
6. Juan Gomez Estrada
7. Pascual Gómez Álvaro
8  Martín Álvaro Estrada

Our compas, adherents of San Sebastián Bachajón, hold the bad government, commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gomez and security councillor Samuel Díaz Guzman responsible for the physical integrity and life of the disappeared.

 

Sign the petition: http://redtdt.org.mx/2015/01/ejido-san-sebastian-bachajon-en-riesgo-de-ser-desalojado-nuevamente/

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Communiqué from the Ejido San Sebastían Bachajón 3rd January, 2015 

FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJÓN, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 3rd JANUARY, 2015

 

manta SSB

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Zapatista National Liberation Army

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the World Festival of Resistance

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world

Compañeros and compañeras, the women, men and children of San Sebastián Bachajón remain dignified standing in struggle on the lands reclaimed on 21st December, 2014, resisting the threats of the bad government to evict us and execute arrest warrants for alleged crimes denounced by the National Commission for Natural Protected Areas which have nothing to do with our land but are the pretext of the bad government for wanting to send us to prison for fighting for the defence of our rights.

The peaceful recuperation of the lands on 21st December means that our territory is not in the hands of the government but in the hands of the people and for the benefit of the people; it is our mother earth which is not up for negotiation nor is it for sale for projects of the bad government or of the powerful businessmen who want to impose their projects of death, like the Cancún of Chiapas known as the Palenque integrally planned centre and the mega highway from  San Cristóbal de Las Casas to Palenque, and this is why they seek to displace the marginalized indigenous communities by taking over our lands.

The bad government manipulates and controls at its the whim the representatives of the ejido San Sebastian Bachajón, Alejandro Moreno Gómez, ejidal commissioner, and Samuel Diaz Guzman, the vigilance councillor, so that they organize armed groups to displace us from the reclaimed lands, simulating that they have the majority of the ejidatarios on their side, but actually all they have behind them as their support is the bad corrupt government which hides its cunning and its face of death by not respecting the rights of our people.

Our organization has stated that it wants dialogue because the struggle is peaceful and for the benefit of the people, but this dialogue is with the people themselves, because the dialogue cannot be held with the government because it is the real enemy of the people that wants to take away the land. The bad federal, state and municipal governments seek ways of getting their hands on the lands of San Sebastián Bachajón with the excuse that we are going to have confrontations between ourselves as brothers; but they themselves are the ones that are giving arms to the commissioner and the vigilance councillor, to Manuel Moreno Jiménez from Pamalhá, to Juan Álvaro Moreno from Xanil and to Carmen Aguilar Gómez from Chewal to kill us, that is the true face of the bad government, because it wants our brothers to kill us and then afterwards get the land, saying they want to avoid “clashes,” the bad government is a liar and a murderer.

We hold responsible the three levels of bad government, represented by the paramilitary leaders Enrique Peña Nieto, Manuel Velasco Coello and Leonardo Guirao Aguilar, and the traitorous ejidal representatives Alejandro Moreno Gomez and Samuel Díaz Guzmán, for any aggression against our compañeros and compañeras, children, women and men, who are safeguarding the recuperated lands which legally and legitimately belong to the Tzeltal people of San Sebastián Bachajón and not to the bad government.

We urgently ask all compañeros and compañeras for their solidarity with our struggle. We invite you, according to your times and geographies to support in the way you can and also we invite those who are willing and able to visit the men, women and children in the reclaimed lands to encourage our hearts in all our struggles which every one of us experiences every day and so we can continue walking together.

From the northern zone of the state of Chiapas, the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón send our combative greetings.

Never again a Mexico without us

Attentively

Land and Freedom! Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

Immediate presentation of the 43 missing of Ayotzinapa!

JUSTICE FOR AYOTZINAPA, ACTEAL, ABC, ATENCO!

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Pronouncement In Support Of The Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón From The Forum In Defence Of The Land And Against Displacement 

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foro-bachajón

January 1st, 2015

To the Good Government Juntas and the Zapatista National Liberation Army

To the BAZ

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the World Festival of Resistance and Rebellion

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the free and independent media

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world  

We, the people who are gathered here today in the Forum in Defence of the Land and against Displacement, come from many parts of Mexico and the world. We would like to offer our profound thanks to the indigenous Tseltal peoples of San Sebastián Bachajón for their kind invitation, given in the face of the threats and aggressions that have become a constant part of their struggle. On this very special and appropriate day, when we celebrate the 21st anniversary of the Zapatista uprising, we extend our hand of fellowship and solidarity to the original peoples of these lands, and to all who struggle for a better world, one with peace, liberty, dignity and justice.

As members of the Indigenous National Congress, and as adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, our compañeras and compañeros from San Sebastián Bachajón are engaged in a crucial struggle not only for their own lands and territory, but for the defence of mother earth, of the waters, the forests, the wildlife, the very future of the planet. Faced with the greed and rapacity of governments and multinational corporations, nothing is sacred, and everywhere there is dispossession for mines, dams, windfarms, roads and airports, and for international tourist developments. It is a war of extermination and dispossession, in which the earth, the water, nature are turned into mere commodities, and the indigenous people are in the way of the plans and ambitions of those from above.

The dignified struggle of the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón is a struggle by those who love and respect the mother earth, who work their lands in common, and who promote the collective values of justice, equality, community, liberation and the search for alternative ways of life. Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano gave their lives for this struggle. The communities face intimidation, harassment, aggression, military occupation, arrest, torture, imprisonment and the loss and destruction of all that gives meaning to their lives, from the three levels of bad government, their paid paramilitary supporters, their police forces, and the big businesses which they serve.

We who attend this forum celebrate the peaceful reclamation of their dispossessed land by the ejidatarios on 21st December last, and their quest for dialogue. We offer the dignified women, children, men and elders of San Sebastián Bachajón our total solidarity, in the spirit of the World Festival of Resistances and Rebellions of “an injury to one is an injury to all.” We will follow closely the developments in the ejido and will remain ready to respond to any future acts of aggression. We hold the three levels of government, and especially Leonardo Guirao Aguilar, Manuel Velasco Coello and Enrique Peña Nieto, responsible for the safety and integrity of the ejidatarios who are defending their lands, and for any violence, attacks, killings or acts of harassment and intimidation that may occur.

We demand:

  • Respect for the fundamental human rights of the indigenous Tzeltal peoples of San Sebastián Bachajón, and guarantees for their life, personal security and integrity
  • Respect and guarantees for their right to the full use and enjoyment of their territory and to the construction of their autonomy and self-determination as indigenous peoples, according to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, in Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization, in Article 2 of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States, and in the Accords of San Andrés Sakam’chen de los Pobres.
  • That priority is given to dialogue and that all acts of repression are avoided against our compañeros and compañeras who are struggling for and defending their rights.
  • A full and fair investigation into the material and intellectual authors of the assassinations of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, and punishment of those responsible
  • A fair, impartial and objective resolution of amparo 274/2011
  • Immediate freedom for the prisoners Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano, Roberto Gómez Hernández, Santiago Moreno Pérez, Emilio Jiménez Gómez and Esteban Gómez Jiménez.
  • An end to the plunder and dispossession, the theft of commons, the militarisation of the area, and to the threats and violence being experienced, and an end to the criminalisation of those who struggle for the wellbeing of their peoples and in defence of their natural resources and the mother earth

We call on all the adherents to the Sixth Declaration to carry out actions of solidarity and fellowship to accompany the dignified struggle of the people of Bachajón, and against any attempt to displace our compañeras and compañeros.

We know that the just and dignified struggle of our sisters and brothers of San Sebastián Bachajón will continue, with solidarity from people of good heart from Mexico and throughout the world. As their struggle will not end, neither will our solidarity.

We extend our greetings and congratulations to our Zapatista compañeras and compañeros, and thank them for all the hope and inspiration they continue to give us.

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Message of solidarity with the peoples in resistance of the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón

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Compañeros and compañeras, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle of the EZLN,

We greet and embrace your dignified struggle in the defence of your ancestral common lands and territory, your natural resources, your history and tradition, your collective way of living, and all that belongs to you as the indigenous Tseltal peoples who you are.

We celebrate your peaceful reclamation on 21st December of the lands which were dispossessed from you on 2nd February, 2011, and of the tollbooth on the access road to the ecotourism centre at the Agua Azul waterfalls. These lands were appropriated without permission or authorisation from the ejido, and without observing your right to consultation and to free, prior and informed consent.

We know very well that your recuperation of your lands was peaceful and that you seek to avoid provocation and conflict. You seek the way of dialogue to solve the problems of the community for the benefit of all the people. We also know that you have reclaimed what is yours by right, and the actions you have taken have been decided by your communities in assembly.

We condemn the attempts by the three levels of government to displace you from your lands and territory to promote their megaprojects of death including luxury hotels, golf courses, and the super-highway from San Cristobál de las Casas to Palenque. To do this, they have used threats, violence, intimidation, imprisonment, torture and assassination. They have paid armed groups to attack and murder, and they have used public forces to repress and intimidate.

We honour the memory and the struggle of your leaders Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano who gave their lives for their people, their lands and the mother earth.

We call for the release of your prisoners Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano, Roberto Gómez Hernández, Santiago Moreno Pérez, Emilio Jiménez Gómez and Esteban Gómez Jiménez.

We will remain alert and vigilant as to what is happening in the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón. We will hold the three levels of the bad government, represented by Enrique Peña Nieto, Manuel Velasco Coello and Leonardo Guirao Aguilar, responsible for any aggression against our brothers and sisters, who are safeguarding the recuperated lands which legally and legitimately belong to the Tseltal people of San Sebastián Bachajón. We will not remain silent.

We demand guarantees for your lives and personal integrity and respect for your autonomy and free determination as indigenous peoples. These rights are established in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, in Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization, in Article 2 of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States, and in the Accords of San Andrés Sakam’chen de los Pobres.

Compañeros and compañeras, we offer you all our solidarity and we accompany your struggle

 

Land and Freedom!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

1st January, 2015

GERMANY

RUSSIA

BRAZIL

POLAND

ENGLAND

MEXICO

SPAIN

GREECE

NORWAY

BASQUE COUNTRY

UNITED STATES

SCOTLAND

FRANCE

ITALY

BÉLGICA

 

 

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URGENT!!! Threats and harassment against the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón

 CASETA-COBRO

URGENT!!!

December 30, 2014

We the adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle from San Sebastián Bachajon, are resisting and protecting our territory

The officialist (government-supporting) ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón, Alejandro Moreno Gómez, and his vigilance councillor, Samuel Díaz Guzmán, have threatened to displace us and to raise arrest warrants against us.

In an approach that was between the ejidatarios of the Sixth and delegates from the Chiapas state government to seek a dialogue between the ejidatarios of the Sixth and the ruling party, the government people demanded that we withdraw from the recovered land, so as to tell the ejidal commissioner and his people that dialogue was agreed.

This demand was accompanied by threats that if we did not leave the land we would be displaced and arrest warrants issued against us.

For his part, the ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez and the people he has been organizing and paying to create tension, today blocked the roads from San Cristobal-Palenque and San Cristobal-Chilón (Temó).

-However, we, the ejidatarios, women and men, are not afraid because we are not doing anything illegal and we will continue to defend our lands peacefully.

We remain ready to dialogue with the other ejidatarios but not to withdraw from the reclaimed lands.

BACKGROUND

-On 21st December last, we, ejidatarios, men and women from the three centres of San Sebastián Bachajón: Bachajón, Alan Sacjun and Ch’ich, adherents and non-adherents to the Sixth, recovered the lands the bad Mexican government took from us, through CONANP, IPC and SSyPC, without permission and/or authorisation from the ejido, depriving us of our right to consultation and free, prior and informed consent. These lands are of great economic importance to the bad government because they access the ecotourism centre of the Agua Azul waterfalls, a centre that has been enriching them at the expense of our people.

We hold the three levels of government and their accomplices responsible for any physical and/or psychological assault which may take place against our women and men compañeros of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón who are on the reclaimed land.

We demand that they stop the threats and harassment which their own state government agencies are planning against us.

 

“Tierra y Libertad”

“Juan Vázquez Guzmán LIVES, the Bachajón struggle continues”

San Sebastián Bachajón, adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the EZLN

 

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URGENT APPEAL FROM THE EJIDO SAN SEBASTIÁN BACHAJÓN TO THE FREE, ALTERNATIVE, AUTONOMOUS MEDIA, OR WHATEVER THEY ARE CALLED

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San Sebastián Bachajón, Chilón municipality, Chiapas

Saturday December 27, 2014

To the free, alternative, autonomous media or whatever they are called:

We, the ejidatari@s from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, reclaimed our territory located on the boundary of the access to the Ecotourism Centre “Agua Azul Waterfalls” on Sunday the 21st of this month.

In a communiqué of the 21st, it was explained that this action was born of an agreement between the ejidatari@s of the three annexes that make up the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón: Bachajón, Alan Sacjun and Ch’ich; because the federal and state government, through the CONANP, IPC and SSyPC appropriated that area without permission from the ejido. “We will not allow the Public Security, the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas, nor those from above, to continue robbing our people of our territory, to impose their projects of death on the communities.”

Up until today we have spent 7 days watching for any attack, however it is feared that they have paid armed persons (as on other occasions) to come and evict us.

It is reported that the people who were called on by the government-supporting ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez and vigilance councillor Samuel Díaz Guzmán to displace us have said no. That they do not believe them, they feel they are only used by these two people.

On the 23rd of this month a group paid by the government-supporting commissioner blocked the Ocosingo – Palenque road above the community of Xanil as a means of pressure, since they sought the intervention of the bad government to go and evict the compañer@s of San Sebastián. The ejidatarios defending their lands have a well-founded fear that this may be part of the strategy of the federal and state governments to create conditions that would justify sending the security forces to dispossess the ejido of its territory again, under the pretext of avoiding a confrontation.

This is why we call on the compañer@s of the free media to see if they can do the work of accompanying the tollbooth giving access to the “Agua Azul Waterfalls” ecotourism centre as soon as possible from the 28th of this month to January 3, 2015, to cover any attempted attack and eviction.

Also as an organization we will cover the transport and food costs of any compañer@s who can accompany us.  

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Invitation to the “Forum for the Defense of the Land and against Displacement” with San Sebastián Bachajón and Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York, Adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle

bachaayotzi

 

To the national and international Sixth

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the peoples and communities in resistance

To the media

Compañeros and compañeras, our community struggle remains organized for the defense of our lands and against neoliberal displacement; the bad government wants to dispossess us of our lands purely to serve the capitalist interests of the rich and discriminates as always against the people from below who care for our mother earth.

Our struggles continue walking, organized by political and legal means to defend our human rights and reclaim our culture and traditions, to raise our voice and listen to each other and walk and organize ourselves with other struggles that are resisting and defending their territory.

We cannot agree with being dispossessed of our territories only to serve the capitalist interests of the rich who discriminate as always against the people from below who care for our mother earth.

Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York and the people of San Sebastián Bachajón, Adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, have organized to share our resistances in a “Forum for the Defense of the Land and against Displacement” that will take place on Thursday, January 1, 2015 on the anniversary of the uprising of the EZLN, at 5pm at the cultural center “El Paliacate” located at calle 5 de mayo #20, San Cristóbal de las Casas in the other Chiapas.

“Land and Freedom!”

“Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!”

“Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!”

Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York and San Sebastián Bachajón

.

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Write A Letter In Support Of Of The Indigenous People Of San Sebastián Bachajón Who Are At Risk Of Attack At Any Time

 

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The compañer@s from Bachajón reclaimed the toll booth on 21st December. They are being threatened and at any moment the police, the army or a paramilitary force could come to evict them violently. We ask you kindly to send an email to each of the addresses below to show solidarity and demand that the integrity of the compas is ensured.

Suggested wording in Spanish:

іAlto al hostigamiento contra el pueblo indígena de San Sebastián Bachajón!

Desde …………..       (Country or town)

Exigimos se garantice la vida e integridad personal de las mujeres, hombres y niños que resguardan las tierras recuperadas el 21 de diciembre de 2014. Asi como privilegiar el diálogo y evitar todo acto de represión en contra de nuestros compañeros y compañeras que estan luchando y defendiendo los derechos que les corresponden. Exigimos el respeto a la autonomía y libre determinación del pueblo indígena de San Sebastián Bachajón de acuerdo al artículo 2 de la Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos, el Convenio 169 de la Organización Internacional del Trabajo y los Acuerdos de San Andrés Sakam Chem de los Pobres.

Seguiremos pendientes de los acontecimientos en las proximas horas y dias.

………………….

(signature of group or individual)

 

Email addresses

secretario@segob.gob.mx
ofproc@pgr.gob.mx
secparticular@chiapas.gob.mx
secretario@secgobierno.chiapas.gob.mx
raciel.lopez@pgje.chiapas.gob.mx
uejasoacnudhmexico@ohchr.org
oacnudh@ohchr.org
cidhoea@oas.org

 

Go to this page for forms you can fill in and send: 

http://espoirchiapas.blogspot.mx/2014/12/formularios-de-envio-para-bachajon.html

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English version of letter:

From………………….

Stop the intimidation of the indigenous people of San Sebastián Bachajón!

We demand guarantees of the life and physical integrity of the women, men and children who are protecting the land reclaimed on 21 December 2014. We also demand the promotion of dialogue and avoidance of all acts of repression against our compañeros who are fighting and defending the rights due to them. We demand respect for the autonomy and self-determination of the indigenous people of San Sebastián Bachajón according to Article 2 of the Constitution of the Mexican United States, Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization and the San Andres Accords of Sakam Chem de los Pobres.

We will continue to monitor developments in the coming hours and days.

Signature ……………………..

 

 

http://espoirchiapas.blogspot.mx/2014/12/formularios-de-envio-para-bachajon.html

 

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The Make-Up Of Dispossession In San Sebastián Bachajón

 

On December 21, 2014, dawn came to San Sebastián Bachajón with the news of their having reclaimed their territory located on the boundaries between the areas of Agua Azul and Tumbalá. These lands had been taken from them by the bad government of Juan Sabines Guerrero and Noe Castañón León, in collusion with the then ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón, Francisco Jiménez Guzmán.

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Why dispossession? The track giving access to the “Agua Azul Waterfalls” ecotourism centre crosses the lands of San Sebastián Bachajón. Since September 2009, the ejidatarios had administered the access continuously. Until February 2, 2011 when military and police forces came to violently evict them from their land, leaving a total of 117 detainees. The eviction order came through the then governor of Chiapas, Juan Sabines Guerrero (now a fugitive for stealing money and increasing the state’s debt to nearly 40 billion pesos, he fled to Punta Diamante, Acapulco, Guerrero,) and the then Secretary General of Government Noé Castañón León.

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After the eviction, the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) installed a tollbooth on the boundary line between Bachajón and Tumbalá, leaving the entire construction in Bachajón, 10 centimetres from Tumbalá. Meanwhile, the Institute of Civil Protection (INP) and the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection (SSyPC) installed a permanent [troop] detachment. A Civil Protection building was built using construction materials the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón kept there.  Where the House of Multiple Uses of the ejidatarios used to be is now the parking area for this building.

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There was also built, or rather converted, a “Medical Consulting Room,” from a construction that had been begun by the ejidatarios, next to a house with meeting rooms and bathrooms. The meeting house was destroyed; the bathrooms remain, while the supposed medical consulting rooms are not in use, as they have no staff or medical equipment. There is only the facade.

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It was not only displacement and dispossession. They also stole their construction materials and destroyed their property.

Plunder masked with legality is what is found on the way to the Agua Azul waterfalls.

The true face appeared again in the early hours of December 21, covered with bandanas and balaclavas, with painted blankets which make clear who they are. This true face speaks in Tseltal and greets the people passing on this road to get to the waterfalls of Agua Azul. They charge 29 pesos less than the CONANP tollbooth for the use of this route, that is to say 10 pesos. Children do not pay.

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How much do they earn, the ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez and the vigilance councillor Samuel Díaz Guzmán, who have asked the governor of Chiapas, Manuel Velasco Coello, to intervene through the public forces to evict those who have regained their territory?

But the ejidatarios are clear. The dialogue has to happen, and it will only be between the true and rightful owners of the land. Not for negotiation, the land is not negotiable. But so that everyone can live in equality. So there will not be some who are above and some who are below, like there is now.

That’s why they are there, defending what is theirs, the girls, boys, women, men, grandfathers and grandmothers, the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). But there are also ejidatarios who are non-adherents but feel strengthened by their compañeros ejidatarios to be able to raise their voices and say “ENOUGH, we never agreed with Pancho (former ejidal commissioner), nor now with Alejandro. This is our land and we will defend it.”

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However the bad people always are always on the lookout in the face of those who want to build. A day after they recovered their land, there is information that the ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón, Alejandro Moreno Gómez, and the vigilance councillor, Samuel Díaz Guzmán, have been requesting the entry of police forces, and at this moment armed groups are being organized headed by Juan Alvaro Moreno from the village of Xanil, Manuel Jiménez Moreno from the village of Pamalá and Carmen Aguilar Gómez from the village of Chewal Nazaret; to come in a violent way to displace and evict the families who are caring for the land they have regained peacefully, without harming anyone or anything. There is a serious risk that children, the elderly and young people who are on the reclaimed land will suffer attacks on their lives and personal integrity.

The Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) have already been informed of this risk, they already know the case for dispossession made against the ejido. Maximum dissemination of information is requested to avoid unfortunate events occurring against the people who are there. It also needs to be clarified that there has been no intention of confrontation or provocation at any time by the ejidatarios who have reclaimed their territory.

They just ask for dialogue. If there has to be violence in the displacement, it will be aggression and attacks from those who do the dispossessing.

http://komanilel.org/2014/12/22/el-maquillaje-del-despojo-en-san-sebastian-bachajon/

 

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

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Urgent Action In The Face Of The Possible Eviction Of Ejidatari@s Of San Sebastián Bachajón 

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IN EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJÓN, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 22nd DECEMBER, 2014

URGENT ACTION

SUMMARY

On February 2, 2011, the Mexican government took possession, through the use of public force, of an area of common land of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, which is crossed by a road leading to the Ecotourism Centre “Agua Azul Waterfalls” located in the neighbouring settlement of Agua Azul, municipality of Tumbalá, Chiapas, Mexico; a tourist destination with worldwide recognition, which is part of a megaproject which the Mexican government intends to implement, called the “Palenque Integrally Planned Centre” (CIPP). In this area of the ejido the ejidatarios, adherents to the Sixth Declaration, had installed a tollbooth, an office for meetings, and public toilets. The Mexican government carried out a violent eviction, and, without consultation and free, prior and informed consent, took over the ownership and administration of the dispossessed land, which was controlled by various police forces until the early hours of December 21, 2014 when it was regained by the ejidal organization.

The ejido Commissioner at the time, Francisco Guzmán Jiménez, worked with the government to hand over the land, and now his successor Alejandro Moreno Gómez and the Vigilance Councillor Samuel Díaz Guzmán maintain the same collaborationist posture with the Mexican government without taking into account the will of their people, and they intend hand over our lands once again to the federal and state governments.

FACTS

On December 21, 2014, at about 6 am, over 300 men, women and children from the three regions that make up the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, recovered peacefully the lands located in the area of ​endowment of the ejido, in the official municipality of Chilon, Chiapas, which borders the municipality of Tumbalá and the village of Agua Azul. These lands are crossed by the access road to the Ecotourism Centre of the “Agua Azul Waterfalls,” which is recognized as a tourist destination worldwide.

The recuperation of the dispossessed land is the result of an agreement between the ejidatarios of the three annexes that make up the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón: Bachajón, Alan Sacjun and Ch’ich; arising from the fact that the Mexican government, about three years ago, through the CONANP, IPC and SSyPC, appropriated that area without permission and/or authorisation from the ejido, and without observing the right to consultation and free, prior and informed consent.

According to the information we received, we have a well-grounded fear that in the coming hours the ejido authorities will act violently to evict the women, men and children who are protecting the reclaimed lands. Furthermore, Mexican government officials have indicated to the ejidatarios that, within the same period of time, public forces will be sent to displace them. Disregarding the fact that the organization has said it is willing to dialogue and seek a solution by peaceful means, the government and the ejido representatives are choosing the path of repression.

BACKGROUND

On February 3, 2011, 117 compañeros from San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth, were arbitrarily deprived of their liberty as a means to dissolve our organization in resistance and as a means of pressure to accept the handing over of land to government control; nevertheless, five months later they were released in full, thanks to national and international solidarity. In August and September 2011 respectively, Antonio Estrada Estrada and Miguel Vazquez Deara, for being active members of the organization and adherents to the Sixth, were arrested and tortured to incriminate themselves of criminal acts. Both compañeros gained their freedom through the struggle of the organization.

In March 2011 our organization filed an amparo, 274/2011, with the Seventh District Judge in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, against the dispossession.

On 24th April, 2013, our compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán, adherent to the Sixth, spokesman for the organization, community leader and human rights defender was murdered with gunshots. For his activism in the defence of the lands of his people he was illegally detained on 24th December, 2011 and on March 22, 2012 he was threatened with death by the then officialist ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón, Francisco Jiménez Guzmán.

In the morning of 21st March, 2014, the compañero Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, coordinator of our organization for the defence of the land, was killed with over twenty high calibre gun shots.

On 16th September, 2014, compañeros Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández were illegally detained and tortured; they are still being held in prison in Yajalón for crimes they did not commit; the municipal police of Chilón, Chiapas are part of the arrest and accusation; they themselves fabricated evidence against our compañeros.

APPEALS

  1. That the life and personal integrity of the women, men and children who protect the lands recovered on 21st December 21, 2014, is guaranteed.
  2. That priority is given to dialogue and that all acts of repression are avoided against our compañeros and compañeras who are struggling for and defending our rights.
  3. That our autonomy and self-determination as indigenous peoples is respected according to Article 2 of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States, Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization, and the Accords of San Andrés Sakam Chem de los Pobres.

Write to:

 

Enrique Peña Nieto

Presidente de México

Residencia Oficial de “Los Pinos”

Col. Chapultepec, México D.F., C.P.

11850, México

Fax: +52 55 5093 4901

Correo-e vía sitio web:

http://en.presidencia.gob.mx/contacto/

Twitter: @EPN

 

Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong

Secretario de Gobernación

  1. Abraham González No.48, Col. Juárez,

Del. Cuauhtémoc C. P. 06600, México, D. F.

Tel. (55) 5728-7400 ó 7300.

secretario@segob.gob.mx

 

Jesús Murillo Karam

Procurador General de la República

Paseo de la Reforma 211-213, Piso 16

Col. Cuauhtémoc, Del. Cuauhtémoc, C.P.

06500 México D. F.

Tel: (52.55) 53460000 ext. 0108

Fax: (52.55) 5346.0928

ofproc@pgr.gob.mx

Twitter: @PGR_mx

 

Lic. Manuel Velasco Coello

Gobernador Constitucional del Estado de Chiapas

Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas, 1er Piso

Av. Central y Primera Oriente, Colonia Centro, C.P. 29009

Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México

Fax: +52 961 61 88088 – + 52 961 6188056; Extensión 21120. 21122;

Correo: secparticular@chiapas.gob.mx

Twitter: @VelascoM_

 

Lic. Oscar Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar

Secretario General de Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas

Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas, 2do Piso

Av. Central y Primera Oriente, Colonia Centro, C.P. 29009

Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México

Conmutador: + 52 (961) 61 2-90-47, 61 8-74-60; Extensión: 20003;

Correo: secretario@secgobierno.chiapas.gob.mx

Twitter: @ramirezlalo_

 

Lic. Raciel López Salazar

Procuraduría General de Justicia de Chiapas

Libramiento Norte Y Rosa Del Oriente, No. 2010, Col. El Bosque

C.P. 29049 Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas

Conmutador: 01 (961) 6-17-23-00.

Teléfono: + 52 (961) 61 6-53-74, 61 6-53-76, 61 6-57-24.

Correo: raciel.lopez@pgje.chiapas.gob.mx

 

Javier Hernández Valencia

Oficina del Alto Comisionado para las Naciones Unidas

Alejandro Dumas No 165,

Col. Polanco. Del. Miguel Hidalgo. C.P 11560, México D.F.

Tel: (52-55) 5061-6350; Fax: (52-55) 5061-6358

quejasoacnudhmexico@ohchr.org ; oacnudh@ohchr.org

Twitter: @ONUDHmexico

 

Emilio Alvarez Icaza

Secretario Ejecutivo de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos

1889 F Street, N.W. Washington, D.C., 20006 U.S.A.

Tel: 202-458-6002

Fax: 202-458-3992

cidhoea@oas.org

Twitter:@CIDH

Referencia: MC-162-13 y P-844-13

 

 

 

http://komanilel.org/2014/12/23/accionugrente-ante-posible-desalojo-de-ejidatris-de-san-sebastian-bachajon/

 

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Ejidatarios From Bachajón Recover Their Territory Which Borders The Access To The “Agua Azul Waterfalls” Ecotourism Centre

 

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San Sebastián Bachajón, Chilón municipality, Chiapas.

Sunday December 21, 2014

LECTURA-COMUNICADO

Since 6 am today, ejidatarios [communal landholders] of the three regions that make up the ejido Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, along with ejidatarios who are not adherents, peacefully regained their territory located in the area endowed to the ejido, in the official municipality of Chilón which borders the municipality of Tumbalá and the village of Agua Azul. The access road to the “Agua Azul Waterfalls” Ecotourism Centre crosses these lands.

The ejidatarios remind us that on 2nd February, 2011, the government of Juan Sabines Guerrero and Noe Castañón León, in collusion with the then ejidal commissioner Francisco Guzman Jimenez, alias “the goyito,” sent police and military forces to violently displace those who were in the common lands, where there was a hall used for many purposes of the ejido, and a tollbooth, which had been in the hands of ejidatarios continuously since September 2009. After the eviction, which left 117 people in custody, the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) installed its own booth and the Institute of Civil Protection (IPC) and the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection (SSyPC) installed a permanent detachment.

In a communiqué they explained that this action arose from an agreement between ejidatarios of the three annexes that make up the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón: Bachajón, Alan Sacjun and Ch’ich; because the federal and state government, through CONANP, IPC and SSyPC appropriated that area without permission from the ejido. “We will not allow the Public Security, the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas, nor those from above, to continue robbing our people of our territory, to impose the projects of death on the communities”.

Juan Alvaro, an ejidatario who is not an adherent to the Sixth, said that they are upset that the former ejidal commissioner and the current commissioner, Alejandro Moreno, do not take the people into account and furthermore they deceive them. “It’s good that our organized compañeros have not abandoned us and we join this struggle to defend our lands. We do not agree with the Ecotourism Centre or with the superhighway which they want to build. They only steal the land that is ours.”

The recovery of the lands is final. They will not negotiate with the government or any of its agents. “Those we want to dialogue with are the other ejidatarios to see if we can agree on how we can all benefit.” When asked what they would do if someone from the government or a messenger arrived with a proposal or offer, they said they would simply hand over the document they have already prepared which makes their position clear.

“The compañeros Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano gave their lives fighting for this land of their birth and their struggle is remembered by the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón … At the same time we make clear that we are not defending the mother earth and territory just for the organization but for all the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón.”

In their communiqué, the compañer@s also demand justice for Ayotzinapa, Acteal, the ABC Nursery and San Salvador Atenco.

With information from Free Media adherents to the Sixth.

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http://komanilel.org/2014/12/21/ejidataris-de-bachajon-recuperan-su-territorio-ubicado-en-la-colindancia-del-acceso-al-centro-ecoturistico-cascadas-de-agua-azul/

 

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INDIGENOUS FROM BACHAJÓN RECLAIM THE LAND AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE AGUA AZUL WATERFALLS ON THE EVE OF THE #FESTIVALRYR

By: Aldabi Olvera

 

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San Francisco Xochicuautla, December 21, 2014 – The Tzeltal people of San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas, decided in assembly to recover the lands where they had a toll booth, on the way to the waterfalls of Agua Azul. At seven o’clock this December 21, the date of the opening of the #FestivalRyR in Xochicuautla, State of Mexico, the indigenous began to gather at the place.

The people of Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, released a communiqué when they reclaimed their territory. The communiqué reads:

“We hold the three levels of bad government, represented by the paramilitary leaders Enrique Peña Nieto, Manuel Velasco Coello and Leonardo Guirao Aguilar, responsible for any aggression against our compañeros and compañeras who will be guarding the recuperated lands which legally and legitimately belong to the Tzeltal people of San Sebastián Bachajón and not to the bad government, for this reason we demand that they refrain from approaching with their police or paramilitary forces.”

Since they began to defend their ejido, two members of the Sixth from Bachajón have been killed. Juan Vázquez Guzmán, the 24thof April, 2013, and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, the 21st of March, 2014. Three more are imprisoned in the CERESO at Yajalón, Chiapas: Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández.

In the communiqué, the adherents to the Sixth ask the peoples and communities of Mexico and the world to remain aware of what may happen to them.

The territory taken from the Tzeltal indigenous of Bachajón borders the municipality of Tumbalá. On February 2, 2011, about 800 members of the police took the tollbooth that the people of Bachajón had to obtain resources (five pesos per car) for various community expenses.

The former Commissioner Francisco Guzmán Jiménez gave this part of the territory (a quarter hectare) to the municipality without consulting the people, in a March 2011 agreement.

The adherents to the Sixth decided to present the amparo 274/2011 under the designation of “surrogate representation” exercised by Mariano Moreno Guzman, elder of the community and founder of the ejido.

On September 29 the Third Collegiate Court in Tuxtla Gutierrez, on resolving the Amparo in Review 224/2014 against the dismissal of amparo 274/2011 issued by the Seventh District Judge in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, unanimously reversed that judgment and ordered the case to be sent to the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation.

resistirBachajón’s lawyers have provided a copy of this resolution toMásde131 with the file number 564/2014.

“This is configured correctly, due to the legal action which seeks to protect the collective rights of the people faced with the complicity incurred by the ejidal Commissioner, with the acts of dispossession by the authorities of the federal government and the State of Chiapas.”

The Collegiate Court, in addition to recognizing the legal and legitimate legal action brought by Mariano Moreno Guzmán, determined to refer the matter to the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, for purposes of exercising its power to resolve the basis of the matter raised by the ejidatario Mariano Moreno Guzmán, adherent to the Sixth Declaration.

“He notes that the authorities carried out the dispossession of commonly used land of the ejidal nucleus, in the presence of agents of public safety, by the responsible authorities.”

“Relevant aspects arise, such as the denial and lack of access to justice for indigenous peoples, the respect of their right to consultation, and the granting of free, prior and informed consent.”

It speaks about the guarantee of “the protection of the human rights of those facing harassment and intimidation by state authorities” and “the protection, use, possession and enjoyment” that people have of their territories, rights guaranteed in the international instruments, Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Law for Dialogue, Reconciliation and dignified Peace in Chiapas.

It also says of the text of the Collegiate Court:

“The resolution of this case would open the possibility of issuing guiding criteria regarding the scope of the rights of indigenous peoples and the effects that the implementation of government projects could have on them, which could put their territories at risk.”

The court therefore asked the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation to exercise its power of resolution in the knowledge of the application for review.

The Second Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation is analyzing the request made by the Third Collegiate Court of Tuxtla Gutierrez. It started with the review of the record number 564/2014; this was referred for the drafting of a report as to whether or not they review the matter, to the Minister Margarita Luna Ramos.

However, the Supreme Court decided not to take the case on November 19, 2014 and to return it to the Third Collegiate Court in Tuxtla Gutierrez to proceed to resolve the matter.

 

http://masde131.com/2014/12/indigenas-de-bachajon-recuperan-entrada-a-cascadas-de-agua-azul-en-visperas-del-festival/

 

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Residents Of Bachajón Recover Their Territories

by Fabiola Quiroz Gutiérrez

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Mexico City, 21 December 2014 – Residents of San Sebastián Bachajón, municipality of Chilon, Chiapas, reported in a communiqué the recuperation of lands that were taken from them by the state and municipal governments on February 2, 2011. They note that throughout this time they have been receiving harassment and attacks to force them to give up their demands.

In 2007, the inhabitants of Bachajón began a long struggle against impunity and the dispossession of their territory. They say that they have an amparo (order for legal protection) in which violations of indigenous territorial rights are recognized, and that because these are not respected, they decided to take back the tollbooth of Agua Azul.

One of the richest reserves of natural resources is located within the territory of Bachajón, the Agua Azul Waterfalls biosphere, where there is a lot of carbon and abundant water, and it is also one of the Chiapas area’s greatest tourist attractions. This is why the government is trying to take over this area, to benefit private companies by building hotels, the Highway from San Cristobal – Palenque and the expansion of Palenque airport.

The statement holds Enrique Peña Nieto, Manuel Velasco Coello and Leonardo Guirao Aguilar responsible for any retaliation towards those who are guarding the recovered lands. Moreover, they also demand the release of political prisoners who are in Yajalón, El Amate and Playas de Catazajá, and they are seeking justice for the murder in 2013 and 2014 of their compañeros Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano and Juan Vázquez Guzmán.

To this end they call on all social organizations, indigenous peoples and communities to show solidarity and support their struggle, they reject the megaprojects underway in the state of Chiapas, in the State of Mexico, Campeche, Puebla, Morelos and all parts of the world.

 

http://www.somoselmedio.org/article/pobladores-de-bachaj%C3%B3n-recuperan-territorios

 

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Today, 21st December, 2014, at about 7 am, 300 ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón recovered the lands that were dispossessed from them in 2011, and the toll booth on the way to the waterfalls of Agua Azul. We will keep you updated as information is received.

 

FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJÓN, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 21st DECEMBER, 2014

 

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To the Good Government Juntas

To the Zapatista National Liberation Army

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the World Festival of Resistance

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world 

Compañeros and compañeras, our people continue to struggle against the dispossession and repression of the bad government which wants by every means to take our land, our natural  resources and our dignity as a people; but as in all this time our people have organized to defend and make our struggle grow, the bad government cannot stop this struggle; that is why they attacked us a lot and killed Juan Vázquez Guzmán on 24th April, 2013 and the compa Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano on 21st March, 2014; this is also why we have three compañeros imprisoned in Yajalón, Chiapas, Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández, who were tortured by the Municipal Police from Chilón and the Indigenous Public Ministry of Ocosingo, the lawyer Rodolfo Gómez Gutiérrez who put a gun to the head of our compañero Mario Aguilar Silvano and also put a bag over his head.

For all these injustices of the bad government that prefers to see us dead or in prison, living in poverty and marginalization because it takes away our land to give to big corporations and corrupt politicians so they can become richer while our communities are dying of hunger, without hospitals or schools, they only come here during electoral campaigns and leave their crumbs to entertain people and take advantage of their need, we completely reject this bad policy that only uses and exploits the people; for this reason as an organisation our communities in assembly decided to recover today the lands from which the bad government dispossessed us on 2nd February, 2011, with the complicity of the ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón at that time, Francisco Guzmán Jiménez, aka goyito, and now by his faithful disciple Alejandro Moreno Gomez and his vigilance councillor Samuel Diaz who serve the interests of the bad government, not of their people.

We hold the three levels of bad government, represented by the paramilitary leaders Enrique Peña Nieto, Manuel Velasco Coello and Leonardo Guirao Aguilar, responsible for any aggression against our compañeros and compañeras who will be safeguarding the recuperated lands which legally and legitimately belong to the Tzeltal people of San Sebastián Bachajón and not to the bad government, for this reason we demand that they refrain from approaching with their police or paramilitary forces.

We demand the release of our prisoners in Yajalón JUAN ANTONIO GOMEZ SILVANO,  MARIO AGUILAR SILVANO and  ROBERTO GOMEZ HERNANDEZ; our prisoners in Playas de Catazajá SANTIAGO MORENO PEREZ and EMILIO JIMENEZ GOMEZ; and our prisoner in El Amate ESTEBAN GOMEZ JIMENEZ.

We ask all the compañeros and compañeras, organizations, peoples and communities of Mexico and the world to remain alert and in solidarity with our struggle because together we can overcome the dispossession and repression of the bad government.

We express our total rejection of mega projects dispossessing the peoples of Chiapas and the whole country, and so we express our total solidarity with our compañeros and compañeras of the ejido Tila, Los Llanos, Candelaria, San Francisco Xochicuautla, the Yaqui Tribe, compañeros and compañeras from Puebla, Morelos, Tlaxcala, Oaxaca and all the peoples who are resisting the prison, death and repression of the bad government we tell them to keep on fighting because they are not alone.

From the northern zone of the state of Chiapas the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón send our combative greetings.

Never again a Mexico without us

Attentively

Land and Freedom! Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

Immediate presentation of the 43 missing of Ayotzinapa!

JUSTICE FOR AYOTZINAPA, ACTEAL, ABC, ATENCO!

 

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Letter From Esteban, Prisoner From San Sebastián Bachajón

DECEMBER 2014

To civil society

To the independent media

To human rights defenders

To independent social organizations

To the pueblo creyente (believing people)

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the EZLN
estebanTHE PRISONER = ESTEBAN GOMEZ JIMENEZ

I have been imprisoned since 2012, they accuse me of an assault, carrying weapons, and murder, my arrest was in a village called (Pamala) when they found me cutting wood and took me to cereso no. 17 playas de Catazaja where I spent a year and 8 months, then I was moved to cereso no. 14 “EL AMATE” in Cintalapa de Figueroa, Chiapas.

Since I was detained there have been many violations of my human rights. Therefore I demand they grant my immediate freedom because I am innocent of these charges that are put against me, I hold the three levels of bad government responsible for any other injustice against me.

I ask all the compañeros and compañeras to help me fight for my immediate release; I belong to the Ejido San Sebastian Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle.

I send a fraternal greeting to the world festival of resistances and rebellions against capitalism !!!!

 

Zapata lives and the struggle continues !!!

C ESTEBAN GOMEZ JIMENEZ

 

http://kolectivozero.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/carta-de-esteban-preso-de-san-sebastian.html?spref=fb

 

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30 Mirrors towards the World Festival of Resistance and Rebellion against Capitalism

Where those above destroy, those below reconstruct!

24. Bachajón, Chiapas

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The Tzeltal people are being dispossessed of their land, water and culture through paramilitary repression, for the construction of tourist complexes, as well as roads and hotels, at the waterfalls of Agua Azul.

http://espejo30.org/portfolio/espejo-24/

 

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Dispossession, the other violence against the peoples

Here are 19 stories, 19 dispossessions, 19 resistances which cross Mexican territory against the megaprojects which are imposed on indigenous territories, invading not only their lands, but also their culture, their sacred centres and their survival as peoples.

Desinformémonos

PORTAD-DESPOJO

 

Bachajón, Chiapas, defending their lands and waters in the courts

Government and business interests have used all possible means to seize these lands, where the famous Agua Azul waterfalls are situated, including the imposition of ejidal authorities. The highest court of justice in Mexico must judge the case.

Ricardo Lagunes and Jessica Davies

Mexico. The ejidatarios from Bachajón who oppose giving up their lands for a tourism project are fighting in court for the right to the representation of their people against the communal authorities who, they accuse, do not defend the interests of the indigenous people. In the course of their resistance, launched in 2011, they have already had two leaders murdered and three indigenous imprisoned in what they describe as an act of revenge by the governmental authorities.

 

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Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández are held in the prison at Yajalón, accused -with no more evidence than the word of the police- of the attempted murder of uniformed officers. They were arrested on 16th September, as they walked towards their community, by the municipal police of Chilón. According to the public denunciation by the ejidatarios of Bachajón, adherents to the Zapatista Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, the Tseltales were tortured by Rodolfo Gómez Gutiérrez, officer from the Public Ministry assigned to the Special Prosecutor for Indigenous Justice based in Ocosingo, to make them sign an incriminating confession.

Inhabitants of Bachajón pointed out that the detention may be in revenge for the imprisonment of Sebastián Méndez Hernández, an officer of the aforementioned police, who is accused of killing Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano (a regional coordinator of the Sixth in Bachajón) on 21 March 2014. The murder suspect was handed over to the authorities by a group of ejidatarios from Bachajón, and a friend and neighbour of his was recognized by detainees as part of the group that attacked them.

The struggle for the land

Founded in 1980 by the original Tzeltal inhabitants, the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón is situated in the municipality of Chilón, in Chiapas, south-east Mexico. It is, at 70,000 hectares, one of the largest ejidos in the country, in an area of great biodiversity and natural beauty. The land is rich in natural resources, verdant jungle, wildlife and water. The spectacular waterfalls of Agua Azul, renowned for the turquoise colour of their water at certain times of year, crash and thunder in the neighbouring municipality of Tumbalá, but to gain access to the “Ecotourism Centre” there it is necessary to cross through the ejido of Bachajón. This became the source of an intense conflict.

As part of the Plan Mesoamerica, the Mexican government, in consultation with transnational corporations and through the National Tourism Foundation (FONATUR), has drawn up plans for the Palenque Integrally Planned Centre (CIPP), a network of infrastructure and services through which the natural and archaeological attractions will be used to promote an elite tourism, resulting in the displacement of the indigenous population.

Agua Azul is the focus of this development, with very expensive luxury hotels accessed by helicopter, which the ejidatarios describe as: “neoliberal tourism projects which are only for the rich, and for which we will only carry the luggage and clean the toilets.” This plan also involves a highway from San Cristóbal de las Casas to Palenque, and the new international airport at Palenque, which was opened on February 12, 2014 by Manuel Velasco Coello, governor of Chiapas, and Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico.

The ejidatarios described their situation in a communiqué on 17 August, 2013: “The struggle of our people from San Sebastian Bachajón is to keep our indigenous territory which we inherited from our ancestors, it is where we live, it gives us life and identity. We are defending our land with our lives if necessary, against the ambition of the government and of the lords of money who want to build luxury hotels, golf courses and runways for rich tourists, at the cost of the exploitation, marginalization and discrimination of our people; faced with the defence we have mounted against these projects the government has had only one answer: repression, imprisonment and death.”

History of Resistance

“The Tzeltales are a historically combative people”, says their lawyer Ricardo Lagunes Gasca in the film ‘Bachajón – Dispossession is death. Life is resistance,’ “they have always defended and sought to keep control of their territory.” On March 19, 2007, many of the ejidatarios of San Sebastian Bachajón declared themselves adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, an initiative promoted by the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN). They marked this action by appointing their own authorities, since the ejidal officials were very close to the government. As they put it in a communique: “Since 2007 the bad government has intervened in the internal life of our community to impose ejidal representatives as they please, who serve them as if they were their minions to defend the interests of the capitalists and not those of the indigenous people.”

Following this decision in 2007, the adherents decided to exert their right as original peoples to free determination over their land and its resources, and constructed a tollbooth in their territory where tourists would pay to visit the Agua Azul waterfalls. It was decided in their assembly what to do with the money taken. Mainly, they say, it was used for the sick, and to support families in need, but this money was not just used for the adherents to the Sixth Declaration, it was available to every member of the community who was experiencing hard times, including the government supporters.

The tollbooth became a focal point for the conflict. There was a violent eviction in 2009. The booth was reclaimed, but on February 2, 2011, in a huge operation, police and shock groups again evicted the ejidatarios and 117 people were arrested. At this time, the authorities not only took over control of the tollbooth, they also illegally seized 2,590 square metres of communally owned lands.

The adherents to the Sixth Declaration began the legal defence of their lands in March 2011, against the violent dispossession of their territory carried out by the then Government Secretary, Noé Castañón León, in coordination with Leonardo Rafael Guirao Aguilar (president of the Green Chiapas Foundation and now the municipal president of Chilón), along with the former ejidal commissioner, Francisco Guzmán Jiménez, and government supporting groups from the communities of Xanil and Pamalha, both in the municipality of Chilón.

Since March 2011 the adherents have faced a series of arbitrary judicial decisions which have denied them justice and a prompt and effective means of protecting their lands; despite these serious violations of their rights, and in spite of the racist and discriminatory prejudice towards indigenous people that pervades the justice system, they have continued to resist and have chosen to challenge the illegal judgements made by the Seventh District Judge in Tuxtla Gutierrez. They have also appealed to public opinion over the lack of ethics of certain federal judges who kneel before economic and political interests.

On 5th February, 2014, the ejidatarios adherent to the Sixth Declaration sued before the Agrarian Tribunal in Comitan for the annulment of the election of the ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez and other officialist (government-supporting) ejidal authorities, for not acting in accordance with the Agrarian Law and the customs and traditions of the community. In January and March 2014, the ejidatarios denounced that the officialist authorities tried, through deception, to seek the annulment of their amparo (order for legal protection) 274/2011.

During the processing of the case for amparo, the Third Collegiate Tribunal in Tuxtla Gutierrez on two occasions warned of violations of due process of law committed by the Seventh District Judge, since he failed to make known to the general assembly of ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón the existence of the petition for amparo filed by Mariano Moreno Guzmán, as a substitute representative, in defence of the collective rights of the indigenous Tzeltal people of Bachajón. Now the general assembly has been notified of the case, and the Third Appellate Court, in their session on 29th September, 2014, ordered the case to be sent to the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation to exercise its power of attraction in view of the relevance and significance of the subject in relation to the International Law of Indigenous Peoples.

It is in this context that the political murder of Juan Vázquez Guzmán must be set. Active in the defence of the land and territory of Bachajón since 2006, on April 18, 2010, he was appointed Secretary General of the three centres of the ejido. “People sought him out a lot for his skills and abilities to relate to the world of the Caxlanes (mestizos),” said Lagunes Gasca, “to defend and translate the problems of the indigenous communities and to put them on the table of the authorities”.

On March 21st, 2014, Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, a regional coordinator for the Sixth in Bachajón, was ambushed and killed with over twenty gunshots. At the time of his death he was travelling to his community of Virgen de Dolores, which, along with the community of Nah Choj, was founded by the adherents to the Sixth Declaration in 2010.

The ejidatarios accuse: “The bad government wants to finish us off completely by assassinating our compañeros, using their paramilitary gunmen, who with complete impunity, whether by night or in the full light of day, are able to vilely murder our compañeros who are working and struggling to construct a world in which other worlds fit.”

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http://desinformemonos.org/2014/11/la-batalla-de-los-pueblos-contra-el-despojo/

http://www.desinformemonos.org/PDF/despojo2.pdf  pp 20-24

 

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San Sebastián Bachajón: Third Collegiate Tribunal Sends Their Amparo For The Dispossession Of Their Lands To The Supreme Court Of Justice Of The Nation

 

Bachajón-Colectivo_Cero-LR-6

 

November Update

The Second Court of the Mexican Supreme Court is analysing the petition of ‘attraction’ made by the Third Collegial Court of Tuxtla Gutierrez. It began the investigation of the Attraction Power number 564/2014 and gave the task to Minister Margarita Luna Ramos. On October 22nd, the Third Collegial Court published the following agreement within the ‘Amparo under Revision’ 224/2014 in which we can see the Mexican Supreme Court has started proceedings regarding the appeal for an Attraction Power:

 

224/2014 Mariano Moreno Guzmán, representative of the San Sebastián Bachajón Ejido, Chilón Municipality, Chiapas; Constitutional Governor of the State of Chiapas; and others

21/10/2014 “…May it be added to this report… that the implementation of a “reception with observations” has been authorised….”

 

Summary prepared by Oso Sabio, from an original in Spanish by Ricardo Lagunes

 

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FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJÓN, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 3rd NOVEMBER, 2014

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world 

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Compañeras and compañeros

The women and men of the pueblo of San Sebastian Bachajon greet all the peoples and communities in resistance who defend their territories against the projects of dispossession of the bad government. We greet and send all our solidarity to the families and compañeros of the 43 missing normal school students of Ayotzinapa disappeared by the bad government since September 26, 2014, and demand their immediate presentation alive.

We inform you that on 29 September last, for the third time we succeeded in overturning the decision of the Seventh District Judge of Tuxtla Gutierrez in judgement 274/2011 which did not recognise our right as ejidatarios to defend our territory, despite demonstrating that the  ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gomez and the former ejidal commissioner Francisco Jimenez Guzman aka Goyito are accomplices of the bad government because they gave away the lands illegally and allow the police to be stationed on our territory without authorization from the highest body of the ejido.

On 29th September the third collegiate tribunal in Tuxtla Gutierrez resolved our appeal number 224/2014 in a review which says that the ruling of the seventh judge is incorrect and that our demand is indeed valid, because our organization along with compañero Mariano Moreno Guzman submitted our petition in compliance with the requirements of the law and also because the officialist ejidal commissioner  never did anything to defend the lands of the ejido, when this situation happens every ejidatario can file their claim. Also the third collegiate tribunal, on the grounds that the violations of our rights as indigenous people are very serious, took the decision to send our amparo to Mexico city so that the supreme court of justice of the nation can consider whether or not it can resolve the case, in the next few weeks it will give its response. The case is turned over to the Minister Margarita Luna Ramos to present a draft consideration of the case for 12th November. We will be awaiting the decision of the supreme court as to whether it will consider the case or return it to the third collegiate tribunal, and we will continue fighting to regain our land.

Our  compañeros the political prisoners JUAN ANTONIO GOMEZ SILVANO, MARIO AGUILAR SILVANO and ROBERTO GOMEZ HERNANDEZ, who were tortured by the bad government and have been deprived of their freedom unjustly since 16th September, 2014 for fighting for justice and the defence of their territory, were transferred on 2nd October  to prison number 12 Yajalón, Chiapas, where they remain unjustly imprisoned for crimes they did not commit which were fabricated by the Chilón municipal police, in revenge for the imprisonment which our community, Virgen de Dolores, achieved for their compañero Sebastián Méndez Hernández, who is a prisoner in El Amate for the murder of the compañero and former co-ordinator Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano. On October 24, the proceedings were admitted for the amparo against the detention order made by the mixed judge of Ocosingo, Lic. Omar Helería Reyes, dated September 24, 2014, for the crime of attempted murder. We demand their immediate release because the crimes are fabricated and the proofs are illegal. The judge from Ocosingo only took into account the statement by the commander of the municipal police from Chilón and two of his officers for making the detention order.

We also demand the release of our compañero SANTIAGO MORENO PEREZ who has been imprisoned since 2009 in the prison of Playas de Catazajá on the accusation of priistas from the community of La Pimienta, because at the time he was arrested he held the position of autonomous vigilance councillor for the other campaign, and they blamed him for a crime he did not commit in order to remove him from office. Our compañero EMILIO JIMENEZ GOMEZ, imprisoned since July 2014 also in Playas de Catazajá, was identified by the community of Xanil as having assaulted a foreigner, but this same foreigner said the compañero was not the person who assaulted him, but the priistas took him as a prisoner to Playas de Catazajá with the complicity of the state preventive police. Our compañero  ESTEBAN GOMEZ JIMENEZ, imprisoned since 2013 in Playas de Catazajá and then transferred to El Amate, was accused by the member of the green ecologist party Manuel Jiménez Moreno from the community of Pamalha of an assault he did not commit, which is why he was first arrested, and then once arrested they began to accuse him of other crimes.

We express our total rejection of the megaprojects which are dispossessing the peoples of Chiapas and throughout the country, for which reason we offer our total solidarity to the compañeros and compañeras of the ejido Tila, Los Llanos, Candelaria, San Francisco Xochicuautla, the Yaqui Tribe and all the peoples who are resisting jail, death and repression from the bad government, we tell them to keep fighting because they are not alone.

We demand that the bad government and the officialist ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón, Alejandro Moreno Gómez, do not continue robbing our people of their territory and natural resources, because the people will continue defending them.

From the northern zone of the state of Chiapas the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón send our combative greetings.

Never again a Mexico without us

Attentively

Land and Freedom! Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

Immediate presentation of the 43 missing of Ayotzinapa!

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On November 12, the Supreme Court decides whether or not it will consider the case of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón

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Bachajón Chiapas, Mexico, November 4th. “Taking the view that the violations of our rights as indigenous people are very serious, the third appellate court in Tuxtla Gutierrez has taken the decision to send our amparo to the city of Mexico, so that the Supreme Court can consider whether or not they can resolve the case,” reports the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, of Chilón, Chiapas.

The case is turned over to the Minister Margarita Luna Ramos, who will present a draft consideration of the case for November 12. “We are waiting for the decision of the supreme court as to whether they will consider the case or return it to the third collegiate tribunal, and we will continue to fight to regain our land,” say the Tseltal indigenous.

The ejidatarios, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, also pronounced for the freedom of their imprisoned compañeros: JUAN ANTONIO GOMEZ SILVANO, MARIO AGUILAR SILVANO and ROBERTO GOMEZ HERNANDEZ, “who were tortured by the bad government and have been unjustly deprived of their liberty since 16th September, 2014, for fighting for justice and the defence of their territory,” they state.

“They were taken on 2nd October to prison number 12 in Yajalón, Chiapas, where they remain unjustly imprisoned for crimes they did not commit and which were fabricated by the municipal police of Chilón, in revenge for the imprisonment which our community, Virgen de Dolores, achieved for their compañero Sebastián Méndez Hernández, who is a prisoner in El Amate for the murder of the compañero and former co-ordinator Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano,” explain the organized campesinos.

“On October 24, the proceedings were admitted for the amparo against the detention order made by the mixed judge of Ocosingo, Lic. Omar Helería Reyes, dated September 24, 2014, for the crime of attempted murder. We demand their immediate release because the crimes are fabricated and the proofs are illegal. The judge from Ocosingo only took into account the statement by the commander of the municipal police from Chilón and two of his officers for making the detention order,” say the complainants.

The ejidatarios are also demanding the release of their compañeros SANTIAGO MORENO PEREZ who has been imprisoned since 2009 in the prison of Playas de Catazajá; EMILIO JIMENEZ GOMEZ imprisoned since July 2014 also in Playas de Catazajá; and of ESTEBAN GOMEZ JIMENEZ, imprisoned since 2013 in Playas de Catazajá and then transferred to the prison of El Amate, in the central part of the state.

“We express our total rejection of the megaprojects which are dispossessing the peoples of Chiapas and throughout the country, for which reason we offer our total solidarity to the compañeros and compañeras of the ejido Tila, Los Llanos, Candelaria, San Francisco Xochicuautla, the Yaqui Tribe and all the peoples who are resisting jail, death and repression from the bad government, we tell them to keep fighting because they are not alone,” says the ejido of San Sebastián.

http://www.pozol.org/?p=10034

 

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There are dark hands and tourism interests behind the arrest of the ejidatarios from Bachajón

Desinformémonos

It is not the first time that the municipal police of Chilón, under orders from the Mayor, have criminalized and harassed the defenders of territory, says their lawyer a few hours after the ruling on the legal status of the Tseltales.

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UPDATE: JUDGE ISSUES FORMAL ORDER OF IMPRISONMENT AGAINST THREE EJIDATARIOS AND RECLASSIFIES THE CRIME OF WOUNDING TO A MORE SERIOUS ONE: ATTEMPTED MURDER. 

The lawyer defending the Tzeltales, Ricardo Lagunes Gasca, described the incident as “shameful actions of the judge, completely subjected to the interests of the executive,” since it relied on the “illegal” evidence of the prosecution.

Mexico, DF. Behind the arrest of three ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón –accused of ​​wounding a municipal policeman from Chilón, Chiapas, is not only the hand of the municipal president, Rafael Guirao Aguilar, but also the interests of the state and federal governments in handing over the community land to private tourism companies,  the defender Ricardo Lagunes Gasca believes, within a few hours of reaching the constitutional deadline for the trial judge to rule on the possible release of the detainees.

Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández were arrested on September 16, as they walked towards their community, by the municipal police of Chilón. According to the public denunciation by the ejidatarios of Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the Zapatistas, the Tseltales were tortured by Rodolfo Gómez Gutiérrez, officer from the Public Ministry assigned to the Special Prosecutor for Indigenous Justice based in Ocosingo, so they would sign an incriminating confession. The defence lawyer for the Tseltales indicates that the police accuser was injured, but that this was during the patriotic celebrations in the county seat.

Inhabitants of Bachajón noted that the detention may be in revenge for the imprisonment of Sebastián Méndez Hernández, an officer of the aforementioned police, who is accused of killing Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano (a regional coordinator of the Sixth in Bachajón) on 21 March 2014. The murdered man came from Virgen de Dolores, a community founded in 2010 by the ejidatarios on recuperated land. The murder suspect was handed over to the authorities by a group of ejidatarios from Bachajón, and a friend and neighbour of his was recognized by detainees as part of the group that attacked them.

The detainees spent nine hours in the hands of police, who had to deliver them to the nearest public ministry, located a maximum of an hour away. On September 19th, the joint mixed trial judge of Ocosingo, Omar Heleria Reyes, requested bail of 300,000 pesos for each detainee to obtain release, which, according to their lawyer, is unconstitutional because it is disproportionate to the economic situation of indigenous prisoners and allowed no possibility of access to the benefit (bail).

Lagunes Gasca points out that it is not the first time that the municipal police from Chilón have acted with such “impunity” with the intention of retaliating against people from Bachajón. He recalled that officers from the same force arrested the murdered Juan Vázquez Guzmán in 2011; he was released the same day for lack of evidence against him. He added that the municipal president of Chilón, a member of the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM) is indicated as a supplier of arms to the paramilitary group Los Chinchulines and is very close to the Governor Manuel Velasco Coello.

“Compañero Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano,” said the ejidatarios in a communiqué on March 23, “is part of the foundation and construction of autonomy in the Virgen de Dolores community, his participation and his work for the organization and the community will never be forgotten because we carry it in our hearts… Since we founded the communities of Nah Choj and Virgen de Dolores in 2010, our organization has been harassed at various times by the army and state preventive police, threatening us with eviction.”

The ejidatarios the bad government of wanting to ” finish us off completely by assassinating our compañeros, using their paramilitary gunmen, who with complete impunity, whether by night or in the full light of day, are capable of vilely murdering our compañeros who are working and struggling to construct a world in which other worlds fit.”

Founded in 1980 by the original Tseltal inhabitants, the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón is in the municipality of Chilón, Chiapas, in southeastern Mexico. The ejido, one of the largest in Mexico, has 70 hectares in an area of ​​outstanding natural beauty and biodiversity, where the waterfalls of Agua Azul are situated. The state and federal governments plan to build a large tourist complex, which is why the ejidatarios adherent to the Sixth started their resistance.

On March 19, 2007, many of the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón declared themselves adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, an initiative promoted by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). They decided to exercise their right to self-determination over their lands and resources as original peoples, and built a toll booth on their territory, where tourists pay for their visit to the waterfalls of Agua Azul. The booth became a focal point for conflict.

On several occasions, the ejidatarios denounced the eviction of the booth and the attempted imposition of political parties allied to the authorities. In this context, Juan Vázquez Guzmán – spokesperson for the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón -was murdered with six shots at the door of his home on April 24, 2013, in what was widely interpreted as a political assassination. The material and intellectual murderers remain unpunished.

bachajuanes

http://desinformemonos.org/2014/09/manos-oscuras-e-intereses-turisticos-detras-de-la-detencion-de-ejidatarios-de-bachajon/

 

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Web Of Testimonial Of Four Indigenous Prisoners In Chiapas

October 24, 2014

By: Aldabi Olvera 

Captura-de-pantalla-2014-10-24-a-las-15.04.20-672x372

 

A heavy blanket of fog and rain densely covers the valleys, canyons and mountains of Chiapas. It seems that the strong threads of heaven are gradually forming a wall to convert the territory into a giant prison of the mind,

white,

cold.

Travelling these roads, with compañeras and compañeros I visited four prisoners in a week:

Alejandro, indigenous Tsotsil, is imprisoned unjustly in CERESO 5 in San Cristobal de las Casas.

Mario, Juan Antonio and Roberto, Tseltal indigenous, are prisoners for political reasons. “Revenge of the police”, say his family. They have just been transferred to CERESO 12 in Yajalón.

A heavy blanket of fog and rain drowns the mountains from the north to the highlands of Chiapas. Despite the heaviness with which the huge threads of nature tie the soul, the walls raised by humans are more terrible. However, a profound word is emerging from the voice or the pen of the prisoners, and there is no density or wall that can stop this voice.

The letters of Alejandro

“I demand the freedom of all political prisoners and those imprisoned unjustly throughout the world…”

Two years ago he could not speak Spanish. Now, as we have documented in Másde131, the indigenous Tsotsil Alejandro Díaz Sántiz is responsible for publishing reports on the situation of the inmates of CERESO 5.

“I’m fine, I feel good,” says Alejandro smiling. At the time of the visit, he has been fasting for 16 days. He shows me his notebook where he has written that he will lift his fast on October 20th. His letters are clear, neat:

“Those who govern in our country and state, peoples, have governed backwards, as they have only caused harm to the rights of human beings, such as disappearances, unfair imprisonments, among others.”

“Do you write this for the students of Ayotzinapa?” I ask.

“The government itself does that,” he replies.

His words are like a complex textile leading into a deep freedom. When I watched him write, he does it slowly, carefully, like a craftsman. I remember when he told me months ago: “If I had not ended up in prison, I would be dead. I did not know how to speak or write, but I learned it through the struggle.”

“Today my lawyers, Sandino Rivero and Leonel Rivero requested remission of sentence from the governor of Veracruz, Javier Duarte Ochoa, and Manuel Velasco Coello, governor of Chiapas.”

Remission of sentence is one of the last tools that Alexander has to obtain his release. His lawyers filed on October 16 that the government of Veracruz accept and order his release on account of his work and conduct in prison. He now has to wait for that information from the state government of Chiapas. The answer could take two weeks after it was filed for legal recourse.

On 11 May, Sántiz Diaz completed a period of 15 years in different prisons, from Veracruz, where he allegedly committed the crime of murdering his own daughter, to now in CERESO 5.

He finished reading his communiqué:

“Together we can win true justice. Alejandro Diaz Santiz, Solidarity with the Voice of el Amate, adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle.”

I keep thinking about what Alejandro said on a previous visit, that he always wanted to struggle, that he wanted to be Zapatista since childhood, that now he can be an adherent to the Sixth in prison. He fulfilled his dream overcoming his fear of speaking, writing, expressing himself.

A compañera brings him a song.  I tell Alejandro that now we are going to leave him a letter to set to music. He smiles and says yes, if he can.

“Why do not you weave hats and bracelets, Alex?” I asked a month ago.

“I do not have time, now I have to write a lot,” he replies.

Neatly, slowly, he begins to write a few lines for me to take out of prison. Then, he accompanies us to the exit. We learn that this October 24th he will spend another birthday in prison. All have gone, I stay until the end. I raise my left arm, close my fist, show him what it says in my notebook. Alejandro Diaz Santiz also raises his left arm and makes a fist, a ritual that we have woven without talking since I first met him, a series of words between the eyes and hands to be repeated until I see him get out of prison.

 

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Threads and torture

The road to CERESO 12 Yajalon, where the three Tzeltal prisoners from San Sebastian Bachajón are held, is steep and curving. In Ocosingo, where there was heavy fighting between the EZLN and the army in 1994, the water forms small streams on the pavements. This does not erase our memory, in contrast, it reawakens it.

The journey is expensive. Sixty pesos from San Cristobal; another sixty from Ocosingo. The whole situation has a high cost for the families of the prisoners who we meet after entering the prison.

“This is costing us a lot, compañeros. It is costing us a lot. Sometimes we despair. We have the idea, but we do not know if we can do it,” they say when thinking what the possibilities are to get their three prisoners out of jail.

“Let’s go in, compañeros.”

“Today is only the day for family visits, but as you have come from far away we will let you in,” says the man in charge of the visitor’s book. This is extremely unusual, usually the watchword of the wardens and directors is to hinder visits to political prisoners.

Juan Antonio, Roberto and Mario, sitting in that order, are on a bench in the courtyard of the prison, full of looms for weaving hammocks. The first thing that strikes you is something that a compañera had told me: “They are very young”.

Nineteen, twenty and twenty-three, surrounded by their families, they look down. We do too. It is hard to know what to say, even when it is already agreed that each will make a presentation. That is why I am here.

“Help me to get my freedom. I have a wife and son, I cannot support them in here,” says Roberto. He cannot explain in a way other than with anger and powerlessness. His tears appear, want to fall and then pass.

Roberto is the best speaker of Spanish. He translates what the others say:

Mario is still in pain from the blows he received. He points to his ribs. He was kicked hard in the torso. He has a scar on his right eyebrow. He still feels dizzy. They put a bag on his head and threatened him if he did not incriminate his compañeros. The prosecutor from Chilón, Rodolfo Jiménez Pérez, said: “If you do not say that you were there, I’ll kill you, shoot you with a bullet and throw you in the river.”

Juan Antonio, Roberto and Mario tell how they were at the celebration of September 15, when early in the morning they and other young people from Bachajón were stopped by members of the police from Chilón who pointed out Juan Antonio. They went against the three of them, detained and tortured them.

Mario looks up suddenly, sadly. I notice a huge scar above his lip. We are left again not saying anything. It is as if we were all under sentence. Not shame, but a punishment that can hardly be expressed in words. Meanwhile, the other prisoners carry on weaving, looking at us sideways curiously.

They dragged Juan Antonio along the ground. His face is still scraped. They kicked him hard on the head. Blood came out of his ear. He has a headache.

He is the brother of Juan Carlos Gomez Silvano, who was a coordinator of the adherents of the Sixth until he was assassinated last March by the Chilón police. According to the three young men, their families and various communiqués released by the adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, the arrests were made in retaliation for the capture and subsequent imprisonment of the police officer Sebastián Méndez Hernández in the prison of El Amate.

Roberto explains:

“They accused us of aggravated assault. As we did not know, we signed it. Bail was 300 thousand pesos. The public defender told us to sign. The witnesses are both police officers.”

An order of imprisonment for attempted homicide was the verdict of Omar Eleria Reyes, mixed trial judge in Ocosingo, issued on September 24 against Juan Carlos, Mario and Roberto, reclassifying the crime and leaving them no possibility of bail.

“My vision is dark, my sight is cloudy and I have to wait. Afterwards I recover,” says Roberto. The health situation of the three concerns their family members, they may have internal injuries.

Juan Antonio remains silent. He does not want to talk. “He has no means to work to support his family,” says Roberto, “we weave hammocks, but in here the ball of thread costs thirty pesos. There is little profit.”

The cost of weaving each hammock is 500 pesos. If the thread is bought in prison it is not worth doing. We talked about the urgent economic need and how they can get out of prison:

“Yes we knew Patishtan, we knew he got out. After all the years that he had done. So they tell us: Yes you will get out. But we are afraid that they will move us to el Amate (the prison far away where the indigenous Tsotsil Professor Alberto Patishtan was held.)”

“Here it is quiet,” says Roberto.

Juan Antonio, Roberto and Mario continue to rest on their arms. We ask what colour thread they need to start weaving: green, blue, red, yellow.

At one point, the families say:

“They cannot not stay like this. They will be ill.”

On leaving we look at their faces. My hand just touches the arm of Roberto. Again there are unshed tears, we look away. A tangle of wires spills water over the hills of Yajalon. We say goodbye. It has started to rain. Outside the prison is a sign that says, “Movement for the Defence of Territory: No to the Highway from San Cristobal to Palenque”. We are charged with bringing in threads to weave, and bringing out their own fabric of woven words.

A light blanket of fog and rain begins to cover the valleys, canyons and mountains of Chiapas. It seems that the water from the sky gradually forms a wall to make the territory into a giant prison of the mind. However, we carry on single sheets the means to climb over any wall: The woven fabric of the word.

@Aldabi

 

http://www.masde131.com/2014/10/tejido-testimonial-de-cuatro-indigenas-presos-en-chiapas/

 

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The Third Collegiate Court In Tuxtla Gutiérrez Refers San Sebastián Bachajón’s Amparo (Request For Legal Protection) Concerning The Dispossession Of Their Territory To The Supreme Court

The following information concerns the legal information about the call for protection (amparo) of the comrades of San Sebastián Bachajón (judgement 274/2011) from the dispossession of their land made on February 2nd, 2011.

105_5826On September 29th 2014, the Third Collegial Court of Tuxtla Gutierrez unanimously revoked (in judgement 224/2014) the cancellation of judgement 274/2011 (a ruling passed down by the Seventh District Judge of Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas), after a complaint lodged by the Sexta adherents of San Sebastián Bachajón. The court subsequently ordered that the case be sent to the Mexican Supreme Court, because of the relevance and transcendence of the issue in terms of the International Right of Indigenous Peoples.

The ruling of the Seventh District Judge, José del Carmen Constantino Avendaño, had been revoked because it had been considered to have interpreted the Law of Protection incorrectly with regards to ‘substituted representation’. In the case at hand, the ejidatario Mariano Moreno Guzmán – founder of San Sebastián Bachajón – was an appropriate substitute representative because his legal action sought to defend the collective rights of his fellow ejido members in the face of the Ejidal Commission’s complicity in the acts of dispossession initiated by both the government authorities of Chiapas and of Mexico. These acts had begun on February 2nd 2011, when a police operation (involving around 800 officers) took land (which remains under their control by force and without the consent of the General Assembly of Ejido Inhabitants) with the support of the Ejidal Commission – with the aim of facilitating privatisation of resources and the establishment of a tourism Megaproject.

The Collegial Court recognised the legitimate legal action of Mariano Moreno Guzmán, and thus referred the case to the Mexican Supreme Court – with the hope that it would resolve Moreno’s case once and for all. The following motives were given for this referral:

 

  • The current issue could be transcendent in importance because, if the actions of the responsible authorities were in fact illegal, the Court would have to proclaim that they had violated fundamental rights – in particular the rights of indigenous communities – and deprived people of their land. It would also have to recognise that these actions were committed under the guise of security and social harmony in the area – where a toll booth had been constructed, along with an emergency response centre of the institute of Civilian Protection of the State of Chiapas.
  • The constitutionality of the actions – justified by the authorisation of an ejidal nucleus – is questioned by the plaintiff, who points out that the authorities carried out the dispossession with the presence of elements of public security forces. Therefore, the Supreme Court would need to clarify up to what point indigenous communities are able to validate such an action.
  • 1798449_1499762030279142_4355541998080999676_nAllegations of violations of the human rights of indigenous peoples to the ownership and possession of their land have been made. The interpretation and application of the Mexican Constitution and numerous international agreements, which protect these rights, must therefore be analysed. Such rulings would also have an impact on similar cases in which, in the name of ensuring social harmony, fundamental and substantive rights of ejidal communities have been affected.
  • The issue of refusal of and lack of access to the justice system for indigenous communities is also relevant to this case, as is the upholding of their right to consultation – their right to give their free and informed consent before any legislative or administrative measure that may affect them is adopted. The case also concerns the right to cultural identity and the protection, use, possession, and enjoyment of their territories. These rights are protected by the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention of the International Labour Organization (ILO-convention 169) and the UN’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – which was incorporated in Mexico’s constitutional system in the reforms of June 10th 2011.
  • Finding a solution to the conflicts generated by depriving indigenous communities of their territorial rights is of international concern, as is the protection of their human rights in the face of harassment and intimidation by State authorities. However, the plaintiff argues that a dignified and preferential treatment of this issue has not been received from the responsible state and federal authorities.
  • It shouldn’t go unnoticed that, in recent years, numerous reforms have been made to the Mexican Constitution regarding indigenous rights (such as the Law for Dialogue, Reconciliation, and Dignified Peace in Chiapas), along with a series of peace agreements in the state. Nor should the fact that indigenous movements with a military character (such as the EZLN) have surfaced in Chiapas be ignored.
  • From the points mentioned above, the case at hand could ensure the creation of orienting criteria regarding the protection of indigenous rights and the effect this has on the implementation of government projects in indigenous areas. Without a doubt, the importance of this case rests in the analysis of the constitutionality of the actions denounced by the plaintiff – which allegedly violate the fundamental rights of ownership, possession, and enjoyment of the ejido lands that he represents.
  • All of the above merits the consideration of the Mexican Supreme Court, because this case represents both a legal question and a constitutional question (in whether or not state authorities can dispossess indigenous people of their territories under the guise of seeking social harmony in said territories).
  • It is necessary to analyse the responsibility of the State in violating human rights by not complying with the appropriate social, political, and economic measures required for the solution of social conflict – especially in the context of a public lack of security and conflicts between communities in indigenous areas.

 

The possible action of the Supreme Court regarding this case would allow for the development of the legal rulings that could benefit the indigenous communities of Mexico. We will keep you informed about the progress of this process.

– 
Ricardo Lagunes

 (52) 961 157 69 24
@defensalegalsur

1st October, 2014

http://kolectivozero.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/tercer-tribunal-colegiado-en-tuxtla.html

Translation by Oso Sabio

 

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Ejido San Sebastian Bachajón attends the 80th anniversary of the ejido Tila. “It is the organised people who command, enough of discrimination and dispossession. No to the San Cristóbal - Palenque highway, and other megaprojects”, they say. “Freedom for political prisoners!” they demand.

Ejido San Sebastian Bachajón attends the 80th anniversary of the ejido Tila. “It is the organised people who command, enough of discrimination and dispossession. No to the San Cristóbal – Palenque highway, and other megaprojects”, they say. “Freedom for political prisoners!” they demand.

Justice for Bachajón! Today, 16th October, it is a month since detention and torture of the three indigenous Tzeltales from the community of Virgin de Dolores in the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón. After 30 days of unjust detention, the conditions under which they are detained in prison in Yajalón are deplorable, because, as members of the collective #‎MasDe131 and the Network against Repression who visited them make clear, they are in need of medical attention, because the wounds resulting from the blows to which they were subjected have yet to heal. ‪

Justice for Bachajón! Today, 16th October, it is a month since detention and torture of the three indigenous Tzeltales from the community of Virgin de Dolores in the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón.
After 30 days of unjust detention, the conditions under which they are detained in prison in Yajalón are deplorable, because, as members of the collective #‎MasDe131 and the Network against Repression who visited them make clear, they are in need of medical attention, because the wounds resulting from the blows to which they were subjected have yet to heal.

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Words from San Sebastián Bachajón during the gathering celebrating “522 years of indigenous resistance to the European invasion,” Ejido Los Llanos, 12th October, 2014

 From the “Day of Race” to the Day Of Resistance: The Harm Caused by the Road from San Cristobal to Palenque. By: Aldabi Olvera

http://www.masde131.com/2014/10/de-la-raza-a-la-resistencia-los-perjuicios-de-la-carretera-san-cristobal-palenque/

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Through the voice of the indigenous Tzeltal and Tzotzil communities, original peoples of Chiapas, the demand to stop the federal project resonates in the Highlands of Chiapas through narratives that describe the harassment and pressure from the government, despite the lands being reclaimed during the Zapatista uprising.

12th October, “Columbus Day”: the commemoration of the “discovery of America”, when 522 years ago sailors arrived from Europe. The discovery turned out to be nothing more than the imposition of a system for the “new” continent.

Since then, dispossessed, persecuted and cornered in the forests and mountains, the indigenous lost part of their lands.

In Mexico, on the first of January 1994, only two years after the five hundredth anniversary of the “Day of the Race”, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) rose up in arms and took back what are now known as the recuperated territories, stolen by the might of the local caciques.

Twenty years after the Zapatista uprising, these same lands are being targeted by entrepreneurs who are looking to build a road…

[…..]

 

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Domingo Pérez, indigenous Tzeltal from San Sebastián Bachajón, speaks while his compañeros hold up a banner behind him which says: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives, the Bachajón struggle continues.

“We thank you for the opportunity to talk and to speak, and to share with you our experience of struggle and resistance. We are adherents to the Sixth (Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle). We have been in struggle for about eight years and the root of the organization (community) is that the ejido is made up of common lands, the ejidal authorities were only one and they sold out to the bad government and then the bad government with the political parties divided the ejido.”

He relates:

“Many more years ago in San Sebastián Bachajón there is a place called the waterfalls of Agua Azul, part of it belongs to the ejido and the other part to Tumbalá. Since 1980 there has been a nature reserve, but Conagua altered the co-ordinates marked on the previous plan and which affects our territory, they are planning to build hotels, golf courses and others for the benefit of the bad government and big businesses, other countries and transnationals, but the government says it is development for the communities, which is a lie.”

On 24 April, 2013, Juan Vázquez Guzmán, a member of the organization, was murdered. On 21 March, 2014, Juan Carlos Gómez was murdered. On 15 September Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano, Roberto Gómez Hernández, also from Bachajón were arrested accused of the attempted murder of police from the municipality of Chilón.

The banner shines behind him, there are the adherents with a star around an indigenous face: “Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives, the Bachajón struggle continues.”

“The super highway does not benefit us compañeros, and the bad government goes straight to the Commissioner without consulting with the people and assembly and went to the Ejido of Salto de Agua to sign an agreement to give passage to the super highway but not with the consent of the people.”

192 of the 206 communities of the neighbouring ejido of San Jerónimo Bachajón also declared themselves against the Highway. This decision was taken at a community assembly of nearly two thousand people in the town of Guadalupe Paxilá, on August 30, 2014.

“San Sebastián has three centres of population and 208 communities and the three centres do not know it. A few made ​​this agreement, selling out to the bad government but we are against it because it destroys our resources. There are big mountains, rivers, waterfalls. There are compañeros whose land with their coffee plantations and crops it will cross, and we will not allow it to affect seven municipalities from San Cristobal to Palenque.”

“The government has been doing it with the death of two compañeros and with the imprisonment, but we will keep fighting, as we already said the land is not for sale, it is defended. We are people of corn, we are of the earth. We eat from her and will not allow the highway to pass. As we say in our community, not one step to the super highway.”

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More Than 800 Indigenous From The Highlands And Northern Zone Of Chiapas Repeat Their Rejection Of The San Cristobal-Palenque Highway

Pozol Colectivo, October 12, 2014

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Los Llanos, Chiapas, October 12. More than 800 indigenous, from communities such as Candelaria, San José el Porvenir, Nuevo Corralchem and San Sebastián ​​Bachajón, arrive at the community of Los Llanos, in the municipality of San Cristobal de las Casas, to express their opposition to the construction of the highway from San Cristóbal to Palenque, which the government intends to build without prior consultation, as they have repeatedly denounced.

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With a traditional ceremony, different communities from the Highlands and the northern zone of Chiapas, begin their meeting. “The road does not give me food, how will it benefit me,” Juan Gomez Diaz argues first, from the vigilance council of Los Llanos. “I am sick of how here they threaten to imprison me,” he continues, and affirms strongly, “If I deserve it, put me in prison, but if not, I must live in this land which has been sold.”

For his part, the representative of the community of San José el Porvenir, in the municipality of Huixtán, says that in December 1994, “It cost us a lot of blood to reclaim our land, many lost their lives,” so do not think giving up “not one more step,” he says.

In his participation, the defence lawyer for Los Llanos says that the announcement of the construction of the highway was made in November 2013; for this reason the community requested an amparo (injunction) in early 2014. The authorities’ response has been to deny that the highway would damage the lands of Los Llanos, which means that the law automatically allows the judges to dismiss the amparo, leaving the communities vulnerable, reports the defender.

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The indigenous guests from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón explain that within their lands are located the tourist attraction the Waterfalls of Agua Azul, which they share with the municipality of Tumbalá, however they denounce that the National Council of the Environment (Conam), altered the coordinates of the map affecting Bachajón.

With respect to the highway, the adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle said that it would not benefit them at all, and showed that in the municipality of Salto de Agua, a convention where some communities accept the superhighway had already been signed; for this reason they were also protesting in the San Miguel community of Salto de Agua on the 12thOctober. The Tzeltal Indians also took the opportunity to demand the release of their three compañeros who were recently imprisoned, despite their statements being obtained under torture.

In the following interventions, the ejido La Candelaria gave an invitation to a pilgrimage on November 25 in San Cristobal de las Casas, where they would make clear their rejection of the dispossession of their land by the highway project. The Centre for Women’s Rights in Chiapas, and communities like La Grandeza and Aguacatenango reminded Los Llanos that they are not alone, and that they have to join together with other communities to defend themselves against megaprojects.

Word also came to the meeting from the Xochicuautla community, in the State of Mexico, which is in resistance against the Naucalpan-Toluca highway which they want to impose on the community. The community, which is a member of the Indigenous National Congress, denounced that, because they are refusing to give up their lands, they continue to experience acts of provocation, persecution, harassment and intimidation towards their communal territory. The indigenous Nanhu also spoke out for justice for the students of the normal school in Ayotzinapa.

 

Article published here: http://www.pozol.org/?p=9922

 

Further Information: http://espoirchiapas.blogspot.mx/2014/10/ejidataris-de-los-llanos-defenden-la.html

VIDEOS: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=723635324379151&set=vb.100001980700686&type=2&theater

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=723650964377587&set=vb.100001980700686&type=2&theater

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=723669111042439&set=vb.100001980700686&type=2&theater

ANTECEDENTES: Desde Laguna Suyul indígenas manifestan su rechazo a la Supercarretera San Cristóbal – Palenque.

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Over 36 organizations from more than ten countries speak out against the unjust imprisonment of indigenous from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón

October 4, 2014

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– International Organizations demand the freedom of the indigenous and hold the three levels of government responsible.

– The Network against Repression sends an invitation to the solidarity Brigade with San Sebastián Bachajón, which starts on October 10.

Mexico, October 3. More than 36 organizations and groups in countries like the United States, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Belgium, United Kingdom, Colombia, Germany and New Zealand are speaking out against the unjust imprisonment of indigenous from the community of Virgen de Dolores in the ejido San Sebastian Bachajón, Chiapas.

The internationals in solidarity explained that on September 16, 2014, Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar and Silvano Roberto Gómez Hernández, members of the community of Virgen de Dolores, which is part of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, were arrested and subjected to acts of torture and cruel, inhuman and/or degrading treatment committed by members of the Chilón Municipal Police, in order to force them sign a self-incriminating confession, as documented by the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Centre.

They add that the Tseltal indigenous were forced to put their fingerprint on a statement which was not read to them, although none of the three can read or write; and they did not have a translator, nor a lawyer they trust to assist them during their statement, although their mother language is Tseltal. They note that the three ejidatarios have now been sent to prison by the judge who issued the formal order for imprisonment for the crime of attempted murder, even though their confessions were obtained under torture.

The organizations demand the release of the indigenous and report that they will be monitoring the situation closely and will remain vigilant as to what may happen. “We hold the three levels of government, and especially Leonardo Guirao Aguilar, Manuel Velasco Coello and Enrique Peña Nieto, responsible for the security and integrity of the prisoners, and for any kind of violence, attacks, killings or harassment and intimidation that may occur,” they warn.

Meanwhile, the Network against Repression and for Solidarity sends an invitation to the Brigade of solidarity with San Sebastián Bachajón, which will leave the city of Mexico on Friday 10 October, to attend the Meeting of Peoples and Communities to be held on 12 October, in the Ejido Los Llanos, municipality of San Cristobal de las Casas, from 8.00. San Sebastián Bachajón, San Jose Los Llanos and El Porvenir will be at the meeting of “those who continue to defend the land and territory.” “Now they struggle against the construction of the San Cristóbal de Las Casas – Palenque highway,” the Network says.

At the same time, San Sebastián’s defence lawyer reports that in the session on September 29, 2014, the Third Collegiate Court in Tuxtla Gutierrez, in the resolution of Amparo in Review 224/2014, filed by the adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle from San Sebastián Bachajón against the dismissal of amparo 274/2011 issued by the Seventh District Judge in Tuxtla Gutierrez, unanimously reverses that judgment and orders the case to be sent to the Supreme Court to exercise its power of judgement due to the relevance and importance of the matter in the International law of Indigenous Peoples.

http://kolectivozero.blogspot.mx/

http://www.pozol.org/?p=9897

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FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJÓN, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 27 SEPTEMBER, 2014

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world

Compañeras and compañeros

 

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We denounce that the bad government is giving more punishment to our compañeros Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández because it has now changed their crime from aggravated assault to the attempted murder of Chilón municipal police agent Alfredo Bernabé Aguilar Fuentes, so that they do not get out on bail and remain unjustly in prison for longer, since it is a crime they did not commit, a crime fabricated ​​by the bad government; this is why the bad government had to mistreat and torture our compañeros, while they were there for nine hours of pure torture from the municipal police of Chilón, but then also later the agent of the public ministry of Ocosingo, Rodolfo Gómez Gutiérrez, put a pistol to the head of compañero Mario Aguilar Silvano, and also put a bag over his head.

The licensed judge omar heleria reyes is an accomplice of the bad government; he only signed the order for formal imprisonment because he was ordered to do so by the government, his boss. The judges of our peoples do not act in that way; wisdom and intelligence are needed to resolve problems, but what these people do is violate rights and protect those who do the dirty work of the bad government.

We denounce that our compañeros Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández, prisoners in cereso 16 in Ocosingo, Chiapas are being asked for money by those called spokespersons or precisos who coordinate with the prison authorities; this is why we demand that the bad government respects the life and integrity of our compañeros because they are political prisoners and no person should be troubled in prison by being forced to give money or do work against their personal dignity.

We demand that the bad government releases immediately our compañeros JUAN ANTONIO GOMEZ SILVANO, MARIO AGUILAR SILVANO AND ROBERTO GOMEZ HERNANDEZ, who were tortured by the bad government, and who have been unjustly deprived of their freedom since September 16, 2014 for fighting for justice and defending their territory.

We also demand the release of our imprisoned compañeros SANTIAGO MORENO PEREZ, a prisoner since 2009 in Playas de Catazajá, EMILIO JIMENEZ GOMEZ, a prisoner since July 2014 in Playas de Catazajá and compañero ESTEBAN GOMEZ JIMENEZ , a prisoner since 2013 in Playas de Catazajá and later transferred to El Amate.

We demand that the bad government and the pro-government ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón, Alejandro Moreno Gómez, do not continue dispossessing our people of their territory and natural resources, because the people are going to continue defending them.

From the northern zone of the state of Chiapas the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón send our combative greetings.

Never again a Mexico without us

Attentively

Land and Freedom! Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

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International Pronouncement on the unjust imprisonment of three compañeros from Virgen de Dolores in the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón

 

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Faced with the recent arrest, torture and imprisonment on false charges of three ejidatarios from the recuperated lands of Virgen de Dolores, we find it necessary once again to express our solidarity with our compañer@s, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, and our anger and indignation at the repression they continue to experience from the bad government and the forces of capitalism.

The ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón are engaged in an ongoing struggle against the plunder and dispossession of their lands by the three levels of government and transnational corporations who wish to profit from a world class ecotourist megaproject they plan to build there. As a direct result of their resistance, two of their compañeros have been assassinated with high calibre gunshots, Juan Vázquez Guzmán on April 24, 2013 and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano on March 13, 2014.

On 16th September, 2014, Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández, three Tseltal indigenous from the community of Virgen de Dolores, part of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, were threatened with firearms and arrested by members of the municipal police from Chilón.

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre has documented what occurred and confirms that the detained were subjected to acts of torture and cruel, inhuman and/or degrading treatment committed by members of the Chilón Municipal Police in order to force them to incriminate themselves; they were forced to put their fingerprint on a statement which was not read to them, although none of the three can read or write; and they did not have a translator, nor a lawyer they trust to assist them during their statement, although their mother language is Tseltal. The three have now been formally imprisoned for the crime of attempted murder – the shooting and wounding of an officer of the municipal police in Ocosingo, even though their confessions were obtained under torture.

We demand:

  • investigations of the municipal police of Chilón and the Prosecutor of the Public Ministry of Ocosingo, for the crime of torture
  • that the evidence illegally obtained under torture be discarded
  • immediate freedom for the prisoners Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández
  • justice and full respect for the rights of the people of San Sebastián Bachajón
  • an end to the criminalisation of those who struggle for the wellbeing of their peoples and in defence of their natural resources and the mother earth

We will monitor the situation closely and remain vigilant as to what may happen.  We hold the three levels of government, and especially Leonardo Guirao Aguilar, Manuel Velasco Coello and Enrique Peña Nieto, responsible for the safety and integrity of the prisoners and for any violence, attacks, killings or acts of harassment and intimidation that may occur.

We know that the just struggle of the compañeros will continue, with the support of people of good heart from Mexico and the world. As their struggle will not end, neither will our solidarity.

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

 

ALUMNXS DE LA ESCUELITA ZAPATISTA (Seattle, tierra ancestral de los Duwamish y Suquamish), US

Asociacion Espoir Chiapas / Esperanza Chiapas. France

ASSI (Acción Social Sindical Internacionalista)

Associació Solidaria Cafè Rebeldía-Infoespai, Barcelona

Associazione Ya Basta! Milano

Caracol mundo-eco de latido en solidaridad, Austria

Caracol Solidario, Besançon, France

Casa Nicaragua, Belgium

Centro de Documentación sobre Zapatismo –CEDOZ-, Spanish State

CGT-Estado Español, Spanish State

Chiapas Support Committee, US

Committee of the True Word for South-West England

Committee of the True Word, Western Colombia

Comitato Chiapas “Maribel” – Bergamo, Italy

Decolonial Food For Thought, US

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group, England

Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group, Scotland

Groupe Cafez de Liège, Belgium

Gruppe B.A.S.T.A., Münster, Germany

Julie Webb-Pullman, New Zealand

KIPTIK, Bristol, England

la Adhesiva, espai de Trobada i Acció, Barcelona

La Plataforma de Solidaridad con Chiapas y Guatemala de Madrid

les trois passants, Paris, France

London Mexico Solidarity Group, England

Manchester Zapatista Collective, England

Movement for Justice in El Barrio, US

Mut Vitz 13, Marseille, France

Red de El Norte en Apoyo a la Sexta, US

UK Zapatista Learning and Teaching Collective

UK Zapatista Translation Service

UK Zapatista Solidarity Network

UK Zap Sol

Wellington Zapatista Support Group, New Zealand

Zapatista Solidarity Group – Essex, England

 

 

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Judge adds more charges against 3 indigenous from Bachajón, who were arrested and tortured, ejido owners accuse

 ** The intention of the Chilón and Ocosingo authorities is that they cannot get out on bail, they claim

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

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A judge added charges against the three indigenous from San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas, in order to prevent their freedom, after being tortured and threatened with a pistol during interrogation in the Ocosingo holding cell.

Their compañeros, ejido owners adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, claim that it is an act of reprisal by the Chilón municipal police and the judicial authorities of Ocosingo for the incarceration of a municipal police agent who participated in the 21 March execution of Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, leader of Virgen Dolores community. One of those imprisoned on false charges is the murdered leader’s brother.

“The bad government is giving more punishment to our compañeros Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández, because now it has changed their crime from aggravated assault to the attempted murder of Chilón municipal police agent Alfredo Bernabé Aguilar Fuentes, so that they do not get out on bail and remain unjustly in prison for longer, since it is a crime they did not commit. “This is why the bad government mistreated our compañeros for nine hours, and also later the Public Ministry [1] agent, Rodolfo Gómez Gutiérrez, put a pistol to the head of compañero Mario Aguilar.”

They ask them for money

The Tzeltal ejido owners also denounce that their prisoner compañeros in Cereso 16 of Ocosingo “are being asked for money by those called spokespersons or precisos who coordinate with the prison authorities.”

They accuse Judge Omar Heleria Reyes of being “an accomplice of the bad government, because he only signs the order for formal prison because the government, his boss, orders him to do it. The judges of our peoples do not act in that way; wisdom and intelligence are needed to resolve problems, but what these people do is violate rights and protect the dirty work of the bad government.”

The indigenous demand the immediate liberation of their compañeros, “tortured and unjustly deprived of their freedom since 16 September for struggling for justice and the defence of their territory.”

They also demanded the release of Santiago Moreno Pérez, a prisoner since 2009, and of Emilio Jiménez Gómez, incarcerated since July 2014, both at the Playas de Catazajá prison, as well as Esteban Gómez Jiménez, who was moved to the El Amate prison.

“We demand that the bad government and the pro-government ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón, Alejandro Moreno Gómez, do not continue dispossessing our people of the territory and natural resources, because we are going to continue defending it,” the authorities of the indigenous in resistance said in conclusion.

[1] The Public Ministry in Mexico is similar to the crown prosecutor in the UK.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/09/30/politica/019n1pol

English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the International Zapatista Translation Service

 

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FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJÓN, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 24 SEPTEMBER, 2014 

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world 
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Compañeras and compañeros

On September 16, 2014, at about 4 am, 40 members of the municipal police from Chilón, under the command of commander Francisco Sanchez Guzman, arrested and tortured our compañeros Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández, accusing them of shooting a member of the Chilón municipal police whose name is Alfredo Bernabé Aguilar Fuentes. Two compañeros from the organization who were not arrested at that time managed to get to the community of Virgen de Dolores to give news of the arrest and the compañeros being taken to an unknown destination.

At 6 am, relatives of the three detainees and authorities of the organization went to look for the compañeros in the police station in Chilón, but they denied that they were there, then we went to the Public Ministry in Ocosingo where they also denied that they were there, then we went to the office of the General Prosecutor of the Republic in Ocosingo but they also said that they knew nothing, we told them that we wanted to give them something to eat and to know how they were, by this time it was about 1.00 in the afternoon.

As no authority of the bad government was saying where the compañeros were held, we submitted an amparo concerning their detention, being held incommunicado, torture and possible forced disappearance. The families of the three detainees went to the police headquarters at Yajalón to continue looking for the compañeros around 3 pm, but they also gave them no information and so they returned to the community of Virgen de Dolores at 6 in the afternoon and the authorities went to the prison in Ocosingo, but we did not find them.

At 6pm compañeros from the organization who were still searching for the three compañeros in Ocosingo learned that they were in the cells of the municipal police in Ocosingo and their families quickly brought food and arrived at about 8 pm, but even so they would not allow the relatives to see them, but just took the food because they could not see them.

On September 17, 2014, at 10 in the morning we were able to see the three compañeros in the public ministry of Ocosingo, this was when we saw that all the compañeros had been beaten, we wanted to speak with them but they were surrounded by municipal police who kept the prosecution surrounded and only allowed the relatives to pass through but not the authorities but they were making a statement with no translator and no lawyer.

Through information from the three prisoner compañeros we know that they were tortured by Rodolfo Gómez Gutiérrez from the Public Ministry who pointed a gun at the head of compañero Mario Aguilar Silvano and put a bag over his head​​ forcing him to incriminate himself.

In the evening of the same day they were forced to sign documents without knowing their contents and the three compañeros were also informed that they could go out on bail, so for this reason the compañeros were able to communicate with compañeros from Virgen de Dolores who came to the public ministry of Ocosingo at 11 pm, but they did not want to let them see them then and a guard told them that they would not see them until 7 am the next day.

It was only on 18 September, 2014, when the relatives were able to speak to Octavio López Martínez from the Public Ministry who told them that they would have to stand bail for an amount of 35,000 pesos each. At that time members of the Frayba human rights centre also arrived with a doctor to certify the torture of our compañeros in the cells of the   municipal police of Ocosingo where they could only see Mario Aguilar Silvano, because the   term of the public prosecutor to resolve their legal status had expired, so then at about 1 pm they were taken to the prison in Ocosingo where they finally finished certificating the two compañeros Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández.

On 19 September 2014, the Ocosingo Judge Omar Heleria Reyes set bail for our compañeros of 332,000 pesos each, and at 1.25 pm on that day his time to resolve the legal situation of our compañeros expired.

Our prisoner compañeros were able to identify among the Chilón municipal police who arrested them one by the name of Agustin Sanchez Jimenez, who is a friend and neighbour of Sebastian Mendez Hernandez who is currently in prison at El Amate for the murder of our compañero Juan Carlos Gomez Silvano in the morning of March 21, 2014, near the community of Virgen de Dolores, where he was killed with more than 20 gunshots. For this reason we consider it an act of revenge against our organization for looking for those responsible for the murder of our compañero Juan Carlos.

We demand that the bad government release immediately our compañeros JUAN ANTONIO GOMEZ SILVANO, MARIO AGUILAR SILVANO and ROBERTO GOMEZ HERNANDEZ who were tortured by the bad government and are prisoners in the prison (cereso) of Ocosingo.

Our organization will continue to fight for the defence of our territory from the bad government which has plundered it since February 2011 in order to impose world class ecotourism projects and has given over our lands to the national Commission for natural protected areas even though this is part of our lands, it is not in the decree of Agua Azul, all with the complicity of former ejidal commissioner Francisco Guzman Jimenez also known as the goyito and the current ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez.

We also demand the release of our compañeros SANTIAGO MORENO PEREZ imprisoned since 2009 in Playas de Catazajá for a crime he did not commit, also of EMILIO JIMENEZ GOMEZ imprisoned since July 2014 in  Playas de Catazajá for a crime he did not commit and compañero ESTEBAN GOMEZ JIMENEZ imprisoned since 2013 in Playas de Catazajá and then transferred to El Amate, for crimes he did not commit.

From the northern zone of the state of Chiapas we send combative greetings to all the compañeros and compañeras who defend the mother earth from capitalist projects of dispossession.

Never again a Mexico without us

Attentively

Land and Freedom! Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

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Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre, A.C.

 San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico

24 September 2014

Press Release No.26

 

Torture of Indigenous Tzeltal Adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

 

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The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba) has documented acts of torture and cruel, inhuman and/or degrading treatment committed by members of the Chilón Municipal Police against the Tzeltal indigenous Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Roberto Gómez Hernández and Mario Aguilar Silvano (hereinafter Juan Antonio, Roberto and Mario), adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle. The events occurred on 16 September, 2014, in the county seat of Chilón, Chiapas, Mexico.

According to information in the possession of Frayba, on September 16, at approximately 04.00 hrs, while they were heading home, Juan Antonio, Roberto and Mario were arrested by a group of approximately 40 municipal police from Chilón.

From that moment they were beaten with fists and kicked, had gas sprayed in their eyes,  were handcuffed and each was put into a truck belonging to the Chilón municipal police;  already subdued, and face downwards they trod on their backs and hands to immobilize them. At the headquarters of the Municipal Police the beatings and spraying of gas in their eyes continued, while interrogating them on the carrying of two firearms and injuries to a municipal policeman. The three Tzeltal indigenous indicated that they knew nothing about the acts the police were questioning them about.

On 17 September, now in the Prosecutor’s Office of the Public Ministry in Ocosingo, Chiapas, they were again beaten in the presence of Rodolfo Manuel Gomez Gutierrez, officer of the Public Ministry. According to documentation they tried to asphyxiate Mario with a plastic bag and beat him on the head with the palm of the hand insisting that he confess with regard to the firearm and that he incriminate himself for having shot and injured a policeman. Meanwhile Roberto was pressured psychologically to accuse the two compañeros, with the argument that they had incriminated him.

The three indigenous were forced to put their fingerprint on the ministerial statement, which was not read to them. It is important to state that none of the three can read or write, and in addition their native language is Tzeltal. There is information that the detainees did not have a translator, nor a lawyer they trust to assist them during their ministerial statement. They were committed on 18 September to appear before Judge Omar Heredia Reyes for the crime of aggravated assault.

On giving their initial statement before Judge Omar Heredia, it was achieved that he would give judicial testimony as to their injuries, asking the prosecutor from the Public Ministry to initiate appropriate investigations in to probable acts of torture, sustaining them in the State Law for the Prevention and Punishment of Torture. Given what has just been told, Frayba is concerned about the performance of the Municipal Police of Chilón and the Public Ministry of Ocosingo, for the use of torture as a method of police investigation.

We request the Attorney General of the state of Chiapas conduct the appropriate investigations against the municipal police of Chilón and the Prosecutor of the Public Ministry, Rodolfo Manuel Gómez Gutiérrez, for the crime of torture as it is defined in the Criminal Code the state of Chiapas, and the other crimes that result.

Also, the judge hearing the case of Juan Antonio, Roberto and Mario must put aside the legal evidence obtained under torture.

Background: During the celebrations of the Mexican independence festival, on the morning of 16 September, in the county seat of the municipality of Chilón, several gun shots were heard when a member of the Chilón municipal police was injured. Juan Antonio, Robert and Mario attended these celebrations and were walking home when they were stopped and accused of shooting the injured policeman.

 

http://www.frayba.org.mx/archivo/boletines/140924_boletin_26_tortura_tseltales.pdf

 

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Ocosingo Judge Omar Heleria Reyes issues detention order against Tzeltal indigenous who were forced to testify under torture 

cartel-y-mesa-bachaj-333x500Chiapas, Mexico. September 24. Ocosingo Judge Omar Heleria Reyes has issued a detention order against three ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón, despite the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba) documenting acts of torture and cruel, inhuman and/or degrading treatment committed by members of the Chilon Municipal Police against the Tzeltales. “The three Indians, who cannot read or write, were forced to put their fingerprint on the ministerial statement which was not read to them, and they also did not have a translator,” denounces the Human Rights Centre.

Frayba also requests the General Prosecutor of Justice of the state of Chiapas to “conduct the appropriate investigations against the Chilón municipal police and the prosecutor of the Public Ministry, Rodolfo Manuel Gómez Gutiérrez for the crime of torture”, as Mario Aguilar , one of the detainees, denounced that they tried to asphyxiate him with a plastic bag and gave him blows to the head with the palm of the hand, insisting that he make a confession regarding the firearm and incriminate himself with having shot and injured a Municipal policeman.

Moreover, in a press conference the indigenous from San Sebastián Bachajón, along with their legal representative, denounced that in the case of their compañeros, the prisoners Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández from the Virgen de Dolores community “the law was not respected, because they were not presented to the prosecutor from the public ministry who is 5 minutes away from the place of their arrest.” “They were nine hours in police custody without being brought before him” they reveal.

The three Tzeltal indigenous were arrested on September 16, by Commander Francisco Sánchez Guzmán, who accused them of shooting at police from Chilón municipality, even though the sodium radizonate chemical tests were negative. The arrests were made at 4:30 am and the officer presented them to the public ministry of Ocosingo at 1:30 in the afternoon, the defence lawyer reports.

“They were very badly beaten, on the face and body, with internal injuries that were certified by the prosecution” adds the lawyer. When the police were questioned about the reason for the delay in presenting the detainees, they replied that it was because they had to keep doing patrols in the county seat and because of the bad weather in the region, the human rights defender also explains and adds that the supreme court determines that all the elements resulting from an arrest like that of the Tzeltal indigenous are illegal.

During the press conference it was reported that they had reclassified the offence of the ejidatarios from Bachajón, from aggravated wounding to attempted murder, so they cannot get bail. The defence states that they will apply for an indirect amparo (order for legal protection or injunction) against the order for imprisonment, due the serious crimes invented against the indigenous.

http://www.pozol.org/?p=9851

 

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 3 Tzeltal Indigenous imprisoned in Chilón on false charges

 ** Frayba accuses the use of torture to obtain confessions

** They are accused of injuring a police agent at the festivities on Sept 16

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

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The Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba), along with the Tzeltal ejido owners of San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas, denounced the detention, torture and imprisonment on false charges of Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández. The Frayba documented “cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, committed by members of the Chilón municipal police against indigenous adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle.

The organisation reports that on September 16, towards 4 o’clock in the morning, some 40 police arrested the 3 men while they were heading home. “From that moment they were punched and kicked, they sprayed gas in their eyes, they were handcuffed and put in a municipal police truck, already submitted and face down they stepped on their backs and hands to immobilize them.” The blows and the gas spray continued at the command post, “interrogating them about two firearms and injuries to a police agent.” The accused said that they knew nothing about the acts.

On September 17, now in the office of the Public Ministry (Ministerio Público, MP) [1] in Ocosingo, they were beaten in the presence of Rodolfo Manuel Gómez Gutiérrez, an MP agent. “They provoked the asphyxiation of Mario with a plastic bag and punched him in the head with the palm of their hand, insisting that he confess with respect to the firearm and incriminate himself with having shot and injured a police agent.”

The indigenous were obliged to put their fingerprint on a statement which they did not read to them. Frayba emphasizes that they don’t know how to read or write, also that their language is Tzeltal. “They didn’t have a translator or a trustworthy lawyer.” On September 18, they were assigned to prison. “On rendering their preparatory statement before Judge Omar Heredia, they achieved that he would take judicial notice of their injuries, asking the MP’s prosecutor to initiate appropriate investigations in to probable acts of torture, supporting them with the State Law for the Prevention and Punishment of Torture.” Frayba questions the behaviour of the Chilón municipal police and the MP’s agency in Ocosingo “for the use of torture as a method of police investigation.”

The organisation asks the state’s Attorney General of Justice to investigate the behaviour of the police agents and of agent Gómez Gutiérrez of the MP “for the crime of torture, described in the Chiapas Penal Code.” Besides, it warns, “the judge who is hearing the case against Juan Antonio, Roberto and Mario, must throw out the illegal evidence obtained under torture.”

During the Independence Day festivities in the early morning of September 16, shots were heard in the municipal capital of Chilón and a police agent was wounded. Juan Antonio, Roberto and Mario were at the festivities and were walking to their homes when they were arrested and accused of shooting the injured police agent, Alfredo Bernabé Aguilar Fuentes.

The Tzeltal ejido owners say that the apprehension and torture of their compañeros were carried out on the orders of the municipal commander Francisco Sanchez Guzmán. For several hours, no official agency acknowledged having the detainees. They were able to see them on September 17 in Ocosingo: “They were all beaten. We wanted to speak with them but the municipal police had surrounded the legal office and only allowed family members to pass through, not the community authorities.” They were tortured by the MP; he pointed a pistol at Mario’s head “so that he would incriminate himself.”

The prisoners identified among their captors the police agent Agustín Sánchez Jiménez, “a friend and neighbour of Sebastián Méndez Hernández, currently imprisoned for the murder of Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano (on March 21, near Virgen de Dolores, where they fired more than 20 shots at him).” The ejido owners consider that: “it is in revenge for seeking those responsible for the murder of our compañero.”

The ejido owners also demand the release of Santiago Moreno López and Esteban Gómez Jiménez, incarcerated at Playas de Catazajá (since 2009 and 2013, respectively) on false charges, as part of the continuing persecution of the ejido owners.

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Translator’s Note: [1]. The local Public Ministry is a local Prosecutor’s office.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Thursday, September 25, 2014

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/09/25/politica/016n1pol

 

 

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Three Tzeltales accused of injuring Chilón police

 ** They are Sexta adherents; they allege political revenge

By: Hermann Bellinghausen,

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San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, September 19, 2014

Three indigenous adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, from the community of Virgen de Dolores –Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández– were assigned (to prison) by the Public Minister (MP) ascribed to the Specialized Prosecutor in Indigenous Justice of Chilón today. As a consequence, these San Sebastián Bachajón ejido owners were sent to the mixed judge of Ocosingo, accused of the aggravated injury of members of the Chilón municipal police, for acts the occurred in the early hours of September 16.

Expeditiously, Ocosingo judge, Omar Heleria Reyes, set bail at 300,000 pesos for each one of the detainees. According to their lawyer, Ricardo Lagunes Gasca, this “is completely unconstitutional, because of being an amount disproportionate to the compañeros’ economic situation, which violates the principle of presumption of innocence.” Besides, it leaves the detainees “without the real possibility of enjoying the constitutional right to confront their criminal proceedings in freedom.”

According to the defense lawyer for the three Tzeltales, the three assure that “during the time that they were in the custody of members of the Chilón municipal police (the ones who apprehended them) they were subjected to cruel treatment and torture; they threw them to the ground and dragged them on the dirt road, provoking grave injuries on their bodies, while the police were laughing at them.”

The detainees point out that Rodolfo Gómez Gutiérrez, MP (prosecutor) ascribed to the Specialized Office in Indigenous Justice in Ocosingo, who aided the Chilón MP in the putting the investigation together, “tortured Mario Aguilar Silvano so that he would incriminate himself in the acts they impute to him and would sign a confession; he pointed a pistol at his head, placed a plastic bag on him to provoke asphyxia and hit him in the face with an open hand more than once.” That occurred during the afternoon of September 17, Lagunes Gasca points out.

At the same time, “the three Sexta adherents point out that at the time of their arrest, they identified one of the apprehending police as Agustín Sánchez, who lives close to Virgen de Dolores community, in Carmen Xaquilá, and who in turn is a close friend and neighbor of Sebastián Méndez Hernández, who participated in the assassination of Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano on March 21, 2014 and who is now secluded in El Amate Prison under criminal prosecution.”

Those detained assure that members of the Chilón municipal police “are taking reprisals against members of Virgen de Dolores community” for the arrest of a member of their (police) corporation.

The constitutional time period for resolving the legal situation of Tzeltal ejido owners Gómez Silvano, Aguilar Silvano and Gómez Hernández expires next Wednesday, September 24. “We will assert all means of defence to obtain their freedom within this time period,” the lawyer for the indigenous concludes.

 

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Saturday, September 20, 2014

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/09/20/politica/019n1pol

 

English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the International Zapatista Translation Service

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Police aggression against three San Sebastián Bachajón ejido members is denounced

 **They are presumed responsible for injuring a Chilón (police) agent

By: Hermann Bellinghausen,

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, September 17, 2014

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, a regional coordinator of the Sixth in Chilón, executed with more than 20 gunshots last March 21 on the road to his community, Virgen de Dolores. Photo: provided by the Gómez Silvano family

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, a regional coordinator of the Sixth in Chilón, executed with more than 20 gunshots last March 21 on the road to his community, Virgen de Dolores. Photo: provided by the Gómez Silvano family

San Sebastián Bachajón ejido owners denounced that in the early hours of Tuesday, three of their compañeros were detained, and disappeared for several hours, after Chilón municipal police, the municipality to which the ejido belongs, attacked them with firearms. They fear that it is revenge for the incarceration of an agent of said police, accused of murdering Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano last March.

Currently, the three are in the custody of the Public Ministry (MP, its initials in Spanish) of the State’s Attorney General of Justice (PGJE) in Ocosingo. The detainees’ defence told La Jornada that they are considered “probably responsible for the aggravated injury of the Chilón municipal police [officer].” As of this afternoon, the family members and compañeros of the Sixth from San Sebastián Bachajón stayed at the Public Ministry in Ocosingo “waiting to gain access to the detainees.”

The ejido owners filed for a protective order: “because of illegal arrest, being held incommunicado, torture and forced disappearance, pointing to various federal authorities as well as local Chiapas authorities, since the family was several hours (up to 18 hours on the 16th) without knowing about them.” The MP of Ocosingo was already notified of the protective order.

At one o’clock in the morning on the 16th, Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hernández, from Virgen de Dolores community, were attacked “and taken away in an unknown direction, when they were walking in the direction of their community coming from Chilón, the municipal capital,” the Indigenous adherents of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle denounced.

Another two of their compañeros were able to escape from the aggression of the municipal police and reach the community to report the acts. The Tzeltal ejido owners denounced that their whereabouts were unknown for the entire day. “They searched in different police agencies in Chilón and Ocosingo and also presented a protective order for their disappearance.”

One of the detainees is the brother of Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, the representative of his community, who was murdered on March 21 “with more than 20 gunshots, carried out by a group of people who acted with impunity.” Weeks after the murder, “compañeros from the community detained two of the aggressors and delivered them to the ministerial authorities. Now, those two individuals are found under criminal process in El Amate (prison). Their names are Sebastián Méndez Hernández (Chilón municipal police agent at the time of the murder) and Jerónimo Hernández Gómez.”

The ejido owners, adherents to the Sixth, “have a well-founded fear that this aggression is in reprisal for the detention of the municipal police agent Méndez Hernández, who participated in the assassination of our compañero.” One day before, the Indigenous had carried out an occupation and intermittent roadblock at the Agua Azul crossroad, in defence of their territory.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Thursday, September 18, 2014

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/09/18/politica/014n2pol

English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the International Zapatista Translation Service

 

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Bachajón ejido owners reject the super highway

 ** They state their “energetic” opposition to the dispossession of their lands

By: Hermann Bellinghausen,

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, September 16, 2014

p9030009-640x330San Sebastián Bachajón’s Tzeltal ejido owners blocked the Ocosingo-Palenque Highway this Monday, at the Agua Azul crossroad, against the construction of the planned San Cristóbal de las Casas-Palenque Toll Road, and to demonstrate their “energetic rejection” of the dispossession of their territory. “We are not going to permit the government to take away our Mother Earth for their death projects that are only for the benefit of capitalists, not for our people.”

The Indigenous, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, demanded that the pro-government ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez “stop betraying the people by delivering their lands to the bad government for tourist projects and the construction of the toll road.” During the intermittent roadblock carried out yesterday, the ejido owners declared that they will not permit the government “to continue delivering the lands that our grandparents left to us.”

The mobilization was also to remember that their murdered compañeros Juan Vázquez Guzmán (April 24, 2013) and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano (March 13, 2014) “gave their lives for the defence of Mother Earth and they defended their town from the ambition and corruption of the bad governments.” They also demanded the freedom “of our Tzeltal compañeros (that are) unjustly imprisoned: Santiago Moreno Pérez (2009) and Emilio Jiménez Gómez (2014) in the Playas de Catazajá prison and compañero Esteban Gómez Jiménez (2013) in the El Amate Prison.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/09/17/politica/025n2pol

English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the International Zapatista Translation Service

 

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APPEAL FOR SOLIDARITY WITH THE COMPAS OF VIRGEN DE DOLORES IN THE EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJON

IMG_9440At 1.00 am on 16/9/14 police from Chilon detain three Tseltales, adherents to the Sixth, from Virgen Dolores…….

Their whereabouts is unknown: Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano Mario Aguilar Silvano and Roberto Gómez Hdz

An amparo has been filed for possible detention, torture and forced disappearance……..

The community of Virgen de Dolores fears for the safety of the three and asks for solidarity.

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Urgent Information from the community of Virgen de Dolores

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Compañeras and compañeros,

We inform you that today at 1 am the compañeros JUAN ANTONIO GOMEZ SILVANO, MARIO AGUILAR SILVANO and ROBERTO GOMEZ HERNANDEZ, from the community of Virgen de Dolores (official municipality of Chilón, Chiapas,) were attacked with firearms by members of the Municipal Police from Chilón when they were walking towards Virgen de Dolores from the municipal seat of Chilón community, and taken to an unknown destination.

Two compañeros managed to escape the aggression of the municipal police and managed to get to the community to report what had happened, but so far the whereabouts of the three compañeros is unknown. Today we looked for them at various police units in Chilón and Ocosingo and also filed an amparo for their disappearance, but so far we do not know where they are or whether they are well.

One of the missing compañeros is the brother of the deceased compañero Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano who was brutally murdered the morning of March 21, 2014, by more than 20 gunshots fired by a group of people who acted with impunity. A few weeks after the murder, two of the people who attacked compañero Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano were detained by compañeros from the community and handed over to the ministerial authorities, now these two people are undergoing criminal proceedings in El Amate, their names are: Sebastián Méndez Hernández (an officer of the municipal police in Chilón at the time of the murder) and Jerónimo Hernández Gómez.

The organization has a well-founded fear that this attack on the three compañeros may be in retaliation for the arrest of the municipal police officer Sebastián Méndez Hernández who took part in the murder of our compañero Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano.

We hold all three levels of government responsible for anything bad that happens to our compañeros JUAN ANTONIO GOMEZ SILVANO, MARIO AGUILAR SILVANO and ROBERTO GOMEZ HERNANDEZ, from the community of Virgen de Dolores, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle.

We ask you to support us by disseminating this information, and send combative greetings.

Land and Freedom

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Land and Resistance in Virgen de Dolores, ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle of the EZLN 

To understand a little more about what is happening in Virgen de Dolores, ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, municipality of Chilón, Chiapas, video-documentary “Land and Resistance in San Sebastián Bachajón”

Land and Freedom!!

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La Sexta Bachajón carries out a road block in defence of their territory and autonomy

bachaluchaespwebMonday, 15 September. Adherents to the Sixth from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón organized a road block on the road from Ocosingo to Palenque at the high point of the turning to Agua Azul, to express their rejection of the tourism megaprojects planned by the government, which include the construction of a motorway which is planned to cross the territory of the ejido. (More information on this)

Through this action, they also seek to demand justice for the murder of two of their compañeros, Juan Vazquez Guzman and Juan Carlos Gomez Silvano, and the freedom of their compañeros who are prisoners, Santiago Moreno Pérez and Emilio Jiménez Gómez held in the prison at Playas de Catazajá and Esteban Gómez Jiménez, imprisoned in El Amate.

http://komanilel.org/2014/09/15/lasexta-bachajon-realiza-bloqueo-carretero-en-defensa-de-su-territorio-y-autonomia/

 

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 FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJON, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 15 SEPTEMBER, 2014

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To the Good Government Juntas

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world 

Compañeros and  compañeras, today we are going to block the road from Palenque to Ocosingo at the high point of the turning to Agua Azul, to express our strong opposition to the dispossession of our territory, we will not allow the government to take away our mother earth for their projects of death which are for the benefit of the capitalists and not for the benefit of our people.

We demand that the government-supporting ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez stops betraying the people by handing over the lands of our people to the bad government for tourism projects and the construction of the highway from san cristobal de las casas to palenque, we will not allow him to continue giving away the lands we inherited from our grandfathers and grandmothers.

This mobilization we are carrying out is to remember that our murdered compañeros Juan Vázquez Guzmán (24 April 2014) and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano (March 21, 2014) gave their lives in defence of the Mother Earth and defended their people from the ambition and corruption of the bad governors. We also demand the freedom of our unjustly imprisoned tseltal compañeros Santiago Moreno Pérez (2009) and Emilio Jiménez Gómez (2014) in the prison at Playas de Catazajá and compañero Esteban Gómez Jiménez (2013) a prisoner in El Amate.

From the northern zone of the state of Chiapas we send a combative embrace to all the struggles and resistances in Mexico and the world. Never again a Mexico without us.

Attentively

Land and Freedom! Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

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Indigenous From Chilón Municipality, Chiapas, Reject Road Construction

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By Elio Henríquez, correspondent

Mon, 11 Aug 2014 13:01

San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas. Residents of the ejidos San Sebastián Bachajón and San Jerónimo Bachajón, in Chilón municipality, and of the community of Tierra y Libertad, belonging to Yajalón, expressed their opposition to the construction of the highway which will link this city with Palenque.

“We express our total rejection of the construction of the highway, because it will bring great problems to our lands which we inherited from our parents and grandparents, and which we have achieved through much hard work and years of struggle,” they said in a public letter.

They added that “the interests of the three levels of government and national and foreign companies want to destroy our cultivated land plots, springs of water, mountains, homes, lands for harvesting, sacred places, medicinal plants and above all our own culture, by imposing, without informing us and hearing our words, their great projects like the construction of the highway, hydroelectric dams, exploitation of mines, and various programmes” of the governments.

They pointed out that according to the information they have, “the federal government has granted licence and permission to foreign companies for the construction of the San Cristobal-Palenque highway, which will affect seven municipalities in the state of Chiapas: Huixtán, Tenejapa, Oxchuc, Ocosingo, Chilón, Palenque, and Salto de Agua, where we, women and men, indigenous Tzotzil, Tzeltal and Chol, are living.”

Against “this violent dispossession (invasion) which the three levels of government and foreign companies are carrying out in complicity with the ejido authorities, we, the women and men of the ejidos San Sebastián Bachajón, San Jerónimo Bachajón, and Tierra y Libertad, those who live in this land where we work sowing and cultivating our food to sustain family life, express our total rejection of the construction” of the road, which, according to official information, has already cost about 10 billion dollars, and the work would not begin until later this year.

They said that the government “violates our human rights, although it has signed and ratified  the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization and the International Agreement on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights” among other international treaties obliging the State to monitor, observe and protect the basic rights of indigenous peoples and communities.

Therefore, they demanded that the authorities of the three levels “hear our requests and demands, for, should they fail to take into account what the people say, we will hold marches, roadblocks, and all that is necessary to defend our Mother Earth and the future of our children.”

 

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/ultimas/2014/08/11/rechazan-indigenas-de-municipio-de-chilon-chiapas-construccion-de-carretera-3087.html

 

 

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FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJON, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 3rd AUGUST, 2014

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To the Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee, General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico

Compañeras and compañeros of the General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation and of the EZLN support bases, we thank you for the invitation to the exchange in Caracol 1, La Realidad, where the compañero and teacher Galeano gave his life for the mother earth, killed by groups of political party supporters on May 2, 2014, like our compañeros Juan Vázquez Guzmán who fell on April 24, 2013 and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano on March 21, 2014.

We see with rage how the bad government is shamelessly changing the Mexican constitution and laws to dispossess us of our territories and exploit our natural resources as they wish, their strategy is to displace us in any way they can, it is a policy of genocide to make a lot of money for a few people.

Enrique Pena Nieto and Manuel Velasco Coello, the deputies and senators, are puppets, they only serve their masters who are money and transnationals, for this reason they put in prison our compañeras and compañeros who get in the way of their business, or murder them to sow fear in our people.

Those from above always say that we in resistance are a minority and that we do not want progress and development for the communities, they are cynical liars who deceive people with their crumbs and false promises, taking advantage of the need and lack of information in which our communities live. What they, those from above, call progress and development, we from below call dispossession and death, poverty, marginalization, discrimination, because they, the politicians and corrupt murderers and businesspeople, buy and sell territories along with everything and the people who live in those places, without consulting or asking the opinion of our peoples. When the people and communities let us know that our lands were rented or purchased by a company to exploit for more than 40 or 50 years, the government comes with the police, according to them so as to ensure order and the rule of law, just another lie from those from above, which we call exploitation, abuse of power and betrayal of the people.

The treacherous Mexican political class certainly feels tranquil about the great betrayal and dispossession which it has made to the peoples of Mexico, because it has lots of money, property and guaranteed work in the companies it is selling them to, or it even goes to another country to hide and protect itself with police in its large houses so as to not face the people, but it is also true that, like cynical liars, there remain congressmen, senators, governors and the president of the republic to continue robbing the people.

The only thing that keeps these corrupt politicians in power is the police, the army, repression, because they do not have the support of the people. It is like in San Sebastian Bachajón the last ejidal commissioners were imposed by the government to do as they please, and the same government gives them the power to order the murder of our compañeros social activists and to sell the lands of our people, but these commissioners do not have a majority, they only have the government as masters.

This is why our organization of the people of San Sebastian Bachajón will continue fighting to defend the territory we inherited from grandparents, we want to walk with the people who love their land and defend it to make our struggle larger, and to tell the bad government that the organized people are in command, and the government must obey, respect the peoples, enough of so much discrimination and violence against our people.

From the northern zone of Chiapas, we greet the compañeras and compañeros of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation and all the peoples in resistance who will be present at the exchange with the Indigenous National Congress in La Realidad, to listen to each other and build a path of justice and freedom.

NEVER AGAIN A MEXICO WITHOUT US!!!

Attentively

Land and Freedom! Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

 

 

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Ejidos San Sebastian and San Jerónimo Bachajón and Tierra y libertad reject highway construction.

July 31, 2014

To the people of Mexico and the world
To the national and international press
To national and international civil society
To human rights organizations
To adherents to the Other Campaign
To social organizations
To the alternative media

mujeres-bachajon-2-600x450-600x330

By this means, the indigenous women and men and organised campesinos from different communities of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, San Jerónimo Bachajón, Tierra y libertad make public our word, our denouncement and our demands to the three levels of Federal, State and Municipal Government.

We know that the federal government has granted licence and permission to foreign companies for the construction of the San Cristobal-Palenque highway which will affect seven municipalities in the state of Chiapas: Huixtán, Tenejapa, Oxchuc, Ocosingo, Chilón, Palenque, and Salto de Agua, where we, women and men, indigenous Tzotzil, Tzeltal and Chol, are living.

Against this violent dispossession (invasion) which the three levels of government and foreign companies are carrying out in complicity with the ejido authorities, we, the women and men of the ejidos San Sebastián Bachajón, San Jerónimo Bachajón, Tierra y libertad, those who live in this land where we work sowing and cultivating our food to sustain family life,

We denounce:

Our total rejection of the construction of the highway since it will bring great problems for our lands which we inherited from our parents and grandparents, which we have achieved with much hard work and struggle, but now for their own interests the governments and national and foreign companies want to destroy our cultivated land plots, springs of water, mountains, homes, meadows, sacred places, medicinal plants and above all our own culture, imposing, without informing us and hearing our words, their great projects like the construction of the highway, hydroelectric dams, mineral extraction, imposition of the Fanar programme, as well as investigations which SAGARPA and CONAFOR seek to carry out in our lands, and the construction of tourist centres,

all of this for the benefit of governments and large corporations who, with programmes and projects, divide communities buying the conscience of the people through trickery and promises like telling us that we will come out of poverty, but none of this is true, on the contrary we increasingly resent the impacts of the economic crisis and climate change which are affecting so much our corn, beans, coffee and other crops with the presence of pests which destroy our plantings.

So we say to the government:

  • We do not want government projects like fanar, PROCAMPO, monoculture, the national crusade against hunger, oportunidades and the housing programme
  • We totally reject the investigations in our lands by SAGARPA CONAFOR and AMAREF
  • No to the construction of the San Cristobal-Palenque highway, hydroelectric dams, mineral exploitation in our lands and territories
  • We totally reject the forms of dispossession of our land and natural resources by the government with its FANAR project, because the land is inherited from our grandparents, so we will fight to defend it
  • No to the displacement and to the relocation of our families, neither by the force of the army nor by the tricks of programmes and projects
  • We do not want ecotourism resorts or hotel areas in our lands
  • We totally reject all the structural reforms
  • We reject the imposition of other interests which do not respect our view of the world, our identity, our way of life, our culture

The government is violating our human rights, which it has signed and ratified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (art. 25); Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization (art. 7); Convention of Belem second paragraph (art. 5); International Agreement on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Article 11); the Constitution of the United Mexican States (art 1, 2, 4, 133), and the Constitution of the Free and Sovereign State of Chiapas (art. 3).

WE DEMAND

  • That the government hears our requests and demands. Should they fail to take into account what the people say, we will hold marches, roadblocks, and all that is necessary to defend our Mother Earth and the future of our children
  • The respect, use and enjoyment of our land
  • Respect for ILO Convention 169, that as indigenous peoples we have a right to the land, to our culture and to decide about the natural resources which are in our territory. Neither the government nor other countries and nations have the right to invade and dispossess us from our lands
  • Respect for the right to our land and our ways of living and thinking, for this is where we eat, here are our roots left by our ancestors
  • We are not going to keep quiet, nor be deceived by their programmes and projects, nor will we allow them to divide us as indigenous peoples
  • The land is not for sale because it is not a commodity, because it is where we eat, work, and grow our food
  • That they guarantee the right to life of the indigenous and non-indigenous peoples who are threatened by these neoliberal projects

We call on the women, men and ejidal authorities of the different communities and ejidos to join our fight for the defence of the land and territory against the construction of highway, hydroelectric and mining projects. We call on the peoples of Chiapas and Mexico to organize ourselves, as women and men, and on ejidal and religious authorities to recognize our rights to fight against the bad government which exploits and oppresses us.

 

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Attempt to dispossess ejido owner in San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas, is denounced

* They impute false crimes to him so as not to return his land to him, on which they have already constructed latrines, the Tzeltales say

By: Hermann Bellinghausen, Envoy

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, July 15, 2014

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Ejido owners of San Sebastián Bachajón, Chilón municipality, denounced that the officialist (pro-government) authorities seek to dispossess an autonomous ejido owner of his rights through false accusations and with backing from the state delegates.

“The people from the government make us divide in the communities, making us fight, killing each other among the same compañeros, among brothers,” maintain the indigenous. In the last year they have murdered two important leaders, in real executions by gunmen.

The Tzeltal ejido owners, adherents of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, point to the president of the ejido commission, Manuel Jiménez Gómez, and other authorities (Pedro Jiménez Gómez, Mariano Espinoza Guzmán, Manuel Gutiérrez Guzmán and Manuel Hernández Moreno, alias Dios Negro), who on June 12, 13, and 14 promoted a general assembly of the three centres that make up the ejido and all of its population centers: Jet Ja, Guadalupe Paxila and Centro Bachajón. The authorities proposed that the assembly deprive Jerónimo Gómez Méndez, a native of the Jol Tanchibil Yoc Campo ranchería, of his ejido right.

“They are dispossessing the compañero of his land where they have already constructed seven latrines promoted by the federal, state and municipal governments. As an organization we ask for the suspension of the work, making it known through an official writing to the municipal president, the delegate of government and public works (sic) so that they take notice of the issue.” Upon not seeing an answer, the autonomous authorities issued a notice to appear “three times” to the engineering contractor, who “paid no attention.”

The manoeuvre of the officialists to dispossess the ejido owner from Jol Tanchibil is based on false accusations, but they intend that the assembly agrees “to cancel his agrarian right without having done the investigations, because according to authorities, our compañero is not fulfilling the requisites of being an ejido owner and has not paid the property tax for 20 years, and (they are) prefabricating the crime of shooting at a school in that very same community.”

In the first place, they specify, the accused is complying with the requisites and paying property taxes.”

The ejido owners of the Sixth have been struggling for seven years against “the bad government’s dispossessions, like its San Cristóbal-Palenque Super-Highway projects, which affects its territory and doesn’t benefit society.”

Faced with the dispossession of their compañero, “the village made agreements to work collectively, to clean the pasture and take out six of the latrines.” Upon finishing that work, they say, they were attacked from a distance of approximately 500 metres by seven individuals “with firearms and carrying machetes, shooting into the air at the side of the Pablo Galeana bilingual primary school.”

They identified the aggressors as Domingo Gómez Méndez (first and second), Mario Méndez Gutiérrez, as well as Miguel, Anselmo, Nicolás and Armando, all with the surname Gómez Gutiérrez. “The same day Manuel Moreno Jiménez, a lawyer with professional permit 5631499, and a native of Sacun Cubwitz, Chilón, currently located in Yajalón, came to head the fabrication of the crime (against Jernónimo Gómez Méndez)” the denouncers add.

“The lawyer put together a false document, fabricating a crime against our compañero,” accusing him with the others attacked “of being the ones that shot (at the school).”

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/07/16/politica/019n1

English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the International Zapatista Translation Service

 

 

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Ejido San Jerónimo Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaraton of the Lacandon Jungle, Chiapas, Mexico, on the 14th of July, 2014.

To public opinion,
To the national and international media,
To defenders of human rights,
To non-governmental organizations,
To the adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle,
To the friends of the Indigenous National Congress
To the Sixth commission of the EZLN
To the Good Government Councils
To the different peoples and organizations that struggle for justice and dignity.

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We send greetings to all our friends from the different organizations that follow the Sixth Declaration of the EZLN and to the different peoples that struggle; we send you an embrace from the adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle from the ejido San Jerónimo, Bachajón, Chiapas, Mexico, the World. Just like you are struggling for autonomy, justice and dignity, for seven years we have been struggling against the pillage of the bad government, such as its projects for a superhighway between San Cristobal and Palenque, which will affect our ejido and will not benefit society.

As such we publicly denounce the Commission President, Manuel Jiménez Gómez, the Security Council Pedro Jiménez Gutiérrez, Secretary, Mariano Espinoza Guzmán, Treasurer, Manuel Gutiérrez, and the Secretary to the Security Council, Manuel Hernandez Moreno (Alias “Dios Negro”), who on the 12th, 13th, and 14th of June of this year held a general assembly of the three centres of Jet Ja, Guadalupe Paxila and Bachajón Centre, in which one of the items for discussion attempted to convince the ejido members to deprive our compañero Jerónimo Gómez Mendez, from the Jol Tanchibil Yoc Campo ranch, in the Chilón Municipality, Chiapas, of his ejidal rights, and in which it was agreed to cancel his agrarian rights without investigations being carried out. The authorities allege that our compañero is not honouring the requirements for an ejido member, and has not paid local taxes for 20 years; and they have fabricated the crime of a school shooting in the aforementioned community. In reality, he is honouring the requirements for ejido members, and is paying local taxes. They are taking the compañero’s land, on which were constructed seven latrines, sponsored by the federal, state and municipal government. As an organization we requested the suspension of these works, doing so with their full knowledge, taking a letter about the matter to the municipal presidency, the government representative, and [a government body for] public works. Upon not receiving a reply, we arranged to see the engineer contractor three times. They did not pay attention to the autonomous authorities because the people from the Government want to divide us one from another in the communities, make us fight each other, kill each other, among compañeros , among indigenous people, among brothers. For this reason, the village agreed to work collectively to clear out the prairie and to remove six latrines. When the job ended, we returned, approximately 500 metres, seven people attacked with firearms and machetes, shooting freely into the air by the Bilingual Primary School “Pablo Galeana”. Their names are Domingo Gómez Mendez 1st, Mario Mendez Gutiérrez, Miguel Gómez Gutiérrez, Anselmo Gómez Gutierrez, Nícolas Gómez Gutiérrez. Armando Gómez Gutiérrez, and Domingo Gómez Mendez 2nd. That same day, Manuel Moreno Jiménez, with his professional document number 5631499, from the community of Sacun Cubwitz, Chilón municipality, Chiapas, currently residing in Yajalón, Chiapas, arrived in person to hand a fabricated document blaming this crime on our friend Jerónimo Gómez Mendez, accusing him of using the firearm. For this reason, we ask the competent authorities not to violate individual guarantees nor our human rights as indigenous people.

Attentively,

Justice, Land and Liberty,
Adherents to the Sixth Declaration,
Of the ejido San Jerónimo Bachajón,

Zapata lives! The struggle continues!

 

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Bachajón: the Mexican justice system gets the chance to stop rights abuses 

Members of this Tseltal ejido continue the legal fight for their lands, in the face of three years of repression and tricks

By Ricardo Lagunes Gasca

A life in struggle

A life in struggle

Chiapas, Mexico. Three years after the legal defence of the lands of the San Sebastián Bachajón ejido [communally owned territory] began, the Third Collegiate Court will have the opportunity to address the root of the problem and issue a ruling on the alleged violations of indigenous rights.

The life of the indigenous peoples and communities in Mexico is increasingly threatened with extinction, in the face of “structural” constitutional and legislative reforms that result in the illegal appropriation of their natural resources, either by privatization or through forcible seizure.

Against this background various indigenous communities have begun legal actions to defend their rights. These include the Yaqui tribe, campaigning against the Independence Aqueduct, or the Ikoots people of San Dionisio del Mar, fighting to stop construction of the mega wind farm at Barra Santa Teresa, among others.

Although provisional or final court judgements are meant to offer protection for indigenous lands, they have not in fact changed any facts on the ground for these communities. As a result, the threat to the life and land of the community remains, requiring greater organisation and political mobilization to prevent abuses becoming irreversible.

The Tseltal ejidatarios at San Sebastián Bachajón are adherents to the [Zapatista] Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona. They began the legal defence of their lands in March 2011, aiming to reverse the violent seizure of their lands which began on 2 February 2011 when communal lands adjoining the village of Agua Azul (Tumbalá Muncipality) which belong to the ejido were taken away, along with the ejido’s main gravel quarry.

This land grab was carried out by the Government Secretary, Noé Castañón León, working with Leonardo Rafael Guirao Aguilar (president of the Green Chiapas Foundation and currently the municipal president of Chilón), along with the ex-commissioner of the ejido, Francisco Guzmán Jiménez and government supporting groups from the Xanil and Pamalha villages in Chilón.

Since March 2011 the Zapatista supporters have faced a series of arbitrary judicial decisions that have denied them justice and an effective means of protecting their lands. Nonetheless, in spite of the racism towards indigenous people that pervades the justice system, they continue to resist and to contest the illegal judgements made by the Seventh District Judge in Tuxtla Gutierrez. They have also appealed to public opinion over the lack of ethics of certain federal judges who put themselves at the disposal of the rich and powerful.

In appeal proceedings, the Third Collegiate Court has now accepted that the Seventh District Judge violated due process on two separate occasions. These violations relate to the fact that the judge failed to inform the general assembly of the San Sebastián Bachajón ejido that a legal appeal made by Mariano Moreno Guzman (a representative of the Bachajón ejido) had in fact been granted. Now that the general assembly has been informed and has not contested the appeal, the Third Collegiate Court has the opportunity to address the underlying issue and to make a ruling on the violation of indigenous rights.

Separately, the ex-commissioner of the ejido Francisco Guzmán Jiménez and the current commissioner, Alejandro Moreno Gómez, tried to prevent a judgement being made on the appeal by fabricating proceedings of the assembly. These proceedings do not follow the requirements of the Agrarian Law in the slightest degree. They are also signed only by those two individuals and lack the signatures of other ejido members. So far this has prevented the appeal being resolved in favour of the economic and political interests that are protecting the commissioner and ex-commissioner.

The only reason the government’s placemen hold their positions in the ejido commission is because they are protected by these wider interests. The commissioners have no support in the assembly or among the wider community. They were in fact imposed with support provided by the municipal president of Chilon, and the Rural Procurator in Ocosingo to make it appear their election was legal.  The Bachajón ejido members have now challenged the legality of the appointment of Alejandro Moreno Gómez and other members at the 54th District Agrarian Tribunal in Comitán.

In playing his assigned role, Alejandro Moreno Gómez is not only working with various government agencies to appropriate the ejido’s common land and gravel quarry, but is also preparing the way for the construction of the San Cristóbal de Las Casas – Palenque highway. It seems that he is ready to continue playing a role in promoting murder and impunity.

The author is a human rights lawyer

http://desinformemonos.org/2014/06/la-justicia-mexicana-ante-la-oportunidad-de-reconocer-las-violaciones-a-los-derechos-de-bachajon/

 

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FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJON, ADHERENT TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 10th JUNE, 2014

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international collectives and committees of solidarity

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world

 

Foto-de-archivo-de-Bachajon-1-600x330

Compañeros and compañeras who are fighting for a world in which many worlds fit, we send a combative embrace and all our solidarity to the people and communities of Mexico and the world who are resisting dispossession, discrimination and the policies of death of the corrupt bad governments and the national and international companies.

We are in struggle to defend our mother earth, even though the officialist (government-supporting) ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez wants to hand it over to the bad government, the organized people will defend it whatever the cost, because the blood of our fallen compañeros Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano was shed in defence of the land, for this reason neither the ejidal commissioner nor the bad governments can take from us that which cost the lives of our compañeros, and is inherited from our grandparents.

Our organization is also continuing to defend by the legal route the land that the bad government wants to take from us, with the petition for amparo 274/2011, before the seventh district judge in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, which has already been over three years in judgement, and this corrupt judge, who already has an agreement with the bad government, has respected neither the law nor human rights, which is why he does not want to resolve our case and only washes his hands saying that he will not proceed to study the case because we have no right to defend our land, and he falsely says that the ejidal assembly consented to the government staying permanently in our lands. Twice the Third Collegiate Court in Tuxtla Gutierrez has resolved our demands positively because the judgments of the seventh district judge are illegal; now the collegiate tribunal is going to study the proceedings for amparo for the third time.

Also, as an organization we filed a complaint before the Agrarian Tribunal in Comitán about the ejidal commissioner, for the illegal assembly in which Alejandro Moreno Gómez and his members were imposed as ejidal commissioners, many irregularities were committed, with the support of the Agrarian Prosecutor of Ocosingo. On June 5 a hearing was held in the agrarian tribunal where the ejidal commissioner alejandro moreno gómez arrived with his members and people who were intimidating and harassing the compañeros of our organization taking pictures and videos with their mobile phones.

We denounce that on June 11, 2014 the officialist ejidal commissioner is organizing an illegal assembly to illegally collect signatures to ask to withdraw the petition for amparo and land claim from before the tribunals, to simulate that the general assembly of ejidatarios are in agreement with the dispossession; so we denounce these corruptions because we energetically reject these crimes committed by the ejidal commissioner to the detriment of the people of San Sebastián Bachajón, as an authority he should respect his people, but he is a mere puppet of the bad government because he has no dignity.

From the northern zone of Chiapas we ask the compañeros and compañeras to remain vigilant about what happens, because the bad government increasingly seeks to put an end to our organization to dispossess our people of their territory.

Never again a Mexico without us

Attentively

Land and Freedom!

Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

 

Translated by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

 

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Warning that “spurious” leaders seek to dispossess ejido owners of their lands in Bachajón

 

** They simulate an assembly to prevent the tribunals from defending those affected

** “Neither the commissioner nor the bad governments will take the inheritance from our grandfathers from us,” they say

 

012n1pol-1

 

Hermann Bellinghausen

The ejido owners of San Sebastián Bachajón (Chilón municipality, Chiapas), adherents to the Sixth declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, denounced that this Wednesday the spurious ejido representation, headed by Alejandro Moreno Gómez, held an assembly without a majority to prevent the state tribunals from giving an answer to the demand for respecting ejido property against the dispossession, for tourist purposes, of a part of the Tzeltal community’s territory. This occurred within the lawsuit for amparo (protective order) 274/2011, which the judge on the case has arbitrarily and unjustifiably delayed.

The mentioned illegal assembly that the officialist commission convoked with his allied group was not “public and open nor with all of the assembly, and it did not comply with the time frames that Agrarian Law imposes,” the indigenous reported.

They noted that they do not recognize what was said and agreed to there, with respect to the protective order against dispossession and the agrarian demand that opposes the naming of Moreno Gómez.

The “illegal assembly was closed door, not in the customary place, which is the ejido house, and only a reduced group of ejido owners and non- ejido owners participated, whom which it is sought to simulate the making of decisions.”

The ejido owners of the Sixth asserted: “We are in struggle to defend our Mother Earth, although the officialist (pro government) ejidal commissioner wants to hand it over to the bad government. The organized people are going to defend it whatever the cost, because the blood of our fallen compañeros Juan Vázquez Guzmán (murdered one year ago) and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano (murdered two months ago) was spilled in defence of the land. Neither the ejido commission nor the bad governments can take away from us what has cost the life of our compañeros and is inherited from our grandfathers and grandmothers.”

They warned: “Our organization continues legally defending the land that the bad government wants to dispossess from us” with the lawsuit for a protective order 274/2011 before the seventh district judge in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. The case has gone on for more than three years and the “corrupt judge” who has the case “already has an agreement with the bad government. He has not respected the law or human rights, and he does not want to resolve it and washes his hands saying that he does not proceed to study the case because we do not have the right to defend our land and falsely says that the assembly gave its consent to the permanent stay of the government on our lands.”

On two occasions the third collegiate tribunal in Tuxtla Gutiérrez has positively resolved the ejido owners demands. “The decisions of the seventh district judge are illegal,” they added. Now the collegiate tribunal is going to study the protective order record for the third time.

They also filed a complaint against the commission before the Agrarian Tribunal in Comitán for the illegal assembly in which Moreno Gómez and his followers were imposed as ejido commissioners. “They committed many irregularities with the support of the Agrarian Prosecutor of Ocosingo.” The hearing was just held on June 5 in the agrarian tribunal, where Moreno Gómez arrived with his people “and individuals who were intimidating and harassing the compañeros from our organization, taking photos and videos.”

With the manoeuver of the illegal meeting it is sought to “simulate that the general assembly of ejido owners is in agreement with the dispossession. We denounce these corruptions and energetically reject the crimes that the ejido commissioner commits against the people of San Sebastián Bachajón. As an authority he ought to respect his people, but he is just a puppet of the bad government, because he has no Dignity.”

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Thursday, June 12, 2014

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/06/12/politica/012n1pol

 

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Communique from the women of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón

April 19, 2014

ssb2Sisters and brothers, from the northern zone of Chiapas receive a warm greeting from the women of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, Adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle.

As women who accompany the journey of our people in the construction of autonomy and the defence of our territory against dispossession, we want to give our humble word for these worldwide days to demand justice for our people and to tell you they that we thank you very much for following our struggle; your support encourages us to continue resisting the policies of death and contempt of the bad government.

Our people have suffered repression and death as a result of the struggle we started in 2007 against the imposition of tourist projects which seek to take over our land to give it to businessmen. On the 24th of April, a year after the assassination of our brother Juan Vazquez Guzman, a compañero who was always at the side of our people, defending our mother earth with strength and courage; they did the same to our compañero Juan Carlos Gomez Silvano, whose life was taken from him in a cowardly manner on the 21st March of this year. With these killings the government thought it could stop our struggle, but it was wrong, the life and the path of our brothers lives on in our hearts and gives us the strength to continue to defend our mother earth.

We as women and compañeras fight for justice for our people, so that our mother earth is not handed over like a commodity, and the killings of our brothers do not go unpunished.

We thank all the compañeras from different organizations, collectives and groups who have heard our word, and have understood and supported our struggle, and we thank all the  compañeros who recognize us as sisters in struggle.

 

Land and Freedom

Juan Vazquez Guzman Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Garlos Gomez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Long live the women who resist!

 

 

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From the US: The Black Student Alliance Supports San Sebastian Bachajón

 

00movimiento estundantilOn Sunday, May 11, the Black Student Alliance screened the new video on the struggle of the Tzeltal Indians of San Sebastián Bachajón. More than 100 students, including members of the Chicano/Chicana Student Movement of Aztlan (Mecha) attended and learned about this dignified struggle against dispossession. After watching the video a communique was read from the women in struggle from San Sebastian Bachajón.

As students of the black race, we understand what it is to be oppressed by the racist and capitalist system. Like the indigenous race in Mexico, the black race is one of the poorest peoples in this country. As people of colour (blacks, Latinos, indigenous and Asians) we face racism every day in our daily lives. But as a community in struggle, we organize to fight against all forms of oppression. The mighty struggle of Bachajón fills us with motivation to keep fighting here. We see the people of Bachajón as a great example of brave fighters and we are filled with energy.

We want you to know that from here we offer you our support and we will continue to inform ourselves about your struggle. Our hope is to keep learning because we know that there is much to learn from you. At our next meeting we have agreed to watch another video on Bachajón. In addition, we will read the Sixth Declaration to learn also from that.

With all our hearts, we wish you well in your struggle.

 

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Government insists on the dispossession of the waterfalls of Agua Azul

In a communiqué, the indigenous people of San Sebastián Bachajón denounced the “bad justice and corruption of the government, because it does not protect the territories of indigenous peoples”; it warned that “the people will have the last word.”

COLECTIVO POZOL

masde6Chiapas, Mexico. May 8. “The authorities intend to take the land from the campesinos to give to the government and big business”, warned the inhabitants of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, after the Seventh District Judge from Tuxtla Gutierrez again declared invalid the amparo 274/2011 promoted by the ejidatarios to prevent the dispossession of their lands, within which are situated the tourist attraction of the waterfalls of Agua Azul.

In a communiqué, the indigenous Tzeltales denounced the “bad justice and corruption of the government, because it does not protect the territories of indigenous peoples”; it warned that “the people will have the last word,” and will not allow the government to “take away the heritage of their grandparents.”

The campesinos from the municipality of Chilón, in resistance since 2007, gave their thanks for the demonstrations of solidarity through the days of global action which started on 24 April, organized by the Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York and the Committees of the true word from around the world. “We want to thank all the compañeros and compañeras of Mexico and the world who showed solidarity, who sent your messages and who are following the actions of our people,” they said.

The indigenous adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle also condemned the assassination of the Zapatista militant Galeano, in the Zapatista community of La Realidad, and asserted that “this is the way that the bad government wants to put an end to the autonomy of the peoples and the organizations who resist capitalism.”

The ejidatarios from San Sebastian Bachajón recalled that in the same way Juan Vázquez Guzmán was murdered on 24 April 2013 and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano on March 21, 2014, to put an end to “their peaceful struggle which is for land and freedom for the people.”

 

http://desinformemonos.org/2014/05/insiste-el-gobierno-en-el-despojo-de-las-cascadas-de-agua-azul/

 

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United Kingdom demands justice for Bachajón

SAM_0800An open letter from groups from all over the United Kingdom was delivered this week to the Mexican Embassy in London, as part of a worldwide campaign of action in support of the indigenous Tzeltal community of San Sebastián Bachajón in the state of Chiapas, South-East Mexico. The ejidatarios (common landholders) here are engaged in a heroic struggle against the federal, state and municipal governments and the corporations which they serve. Their struggle is against dispossession and displacement from their ancestrally-held communally-worked lands, and it is also in defence of their way of life, their customs and traditions, and their right “to be who we are.”

As a direct result of their determination to resist giving up their lands, which they see as their mother earth, and which represent life, hope, dignity and survival, their beloved community leader and spokesperson Juan Vázquez Guzmán was savagely assassinated with high velocity firearms a year ago. It is in his memory and honour that the two weeks have been celebrated from India to Canada. In another useless attempt to put an end to the struggle of the people of San Sebastián Bachajón, another community organiser Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano was also murdered with over 20 gunshots in March of this year.

Both these killings have taken place with complete impunity, and in their letter members of the UK Zapatista Solidarity Network express their outrage at these cruel deaths, reaffirm their total support and solidarity with the common landholders of San Sebastián Bachajón in their struggle, and pay tribute to the two assassinated activists. The Network denounces the growing climate of violence, dispossession and impunity throughout Mexico, directed at indigenous peoples, defenders of the land and territory, fighters for social justice, human rights advocates, journalists and all those in resistance to the forces of neoliberal domination. The letter calls for a return to ethical principles and to justice. Furthermore, it questions the lack of accountability of those who seek to promote and accumulate individual wealth through dispossession.

[At the same time the UK Zapatista solidarity Network denounced another, even more recent, assassination, that of compañero Galeano, a Zapatista support base from La Realidad, Chiapas, who was brutally murdered in a premeditated paramilitary attack.]

 

Here is the letter:

 

Lic. Enrique Peña Nieto, President of the Mexican Republic

Lic.  Manuel Velasco Coello, Governor of the State of Chiapas

Lic. Leonardo Rafael Guirao Aguilar, Municipal President of Chilón, Chiapas

Sr Alejandro Ives Estivill Castro, Mexican Ambassador to the UK

Embassy of Mexico

16 St George Street

London

W1S 1FD

Dear Sirs

Re: Ethics, impunity and dispossession in the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, municipality of Chilón, Chiapas, and in Mexico as a whole

We the undersigned, gathered together at the national meeting of the UK Zapatista Solidarity Network, on 27th April 2014, have agreed to write to express our profound concerns at the alarming increase in physical and structural violence, with the intention of dispossession, currently being committed in Mexico with complete impunity and in complete disregard of national and international law and of ethical standards.

Our specific concern centres on the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, where the people of the community are enduring repeated violence, harassment, assassination, imprisonment, torture and intimidation as a result of their struggle to defend their ancestrally owned common lands, but we feel the issues highlighted in the case of this ejido can also be seen throughout Mexico.

The indigenous Tzeltal people of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón are faced with dispossession and displacement so that an exclusive elite tourism development can be constructed in their territory. Two of their most active community leaders and representatives have recently been assassinated with high calibre firearms: Juan Vázquez Guzmán on April 24, 2013, and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano on March 21, 2014,. No one has been charged with material or intellectual responsibility for their tragic killings, there has been no punishment and no justice.

We believe that these political murders also reflect an institutional racism against indigenous peoples, expressed through marginalisation, discrimination and persecution. Since 2007, around 150 Tzeltal inhabitants of Bachajón have been imprisoned. This is part of a wider pattern where indigenous people, without resources, and often unable to read, write or understand Spanish, are charged with crimes they have not committed, denied access to a lawyer or representative who speaks their language, tortured into confessing, often unknowingly, to acts of which they are innocent, and imprisoned for long periods.

The ejido San Sebastián Bachajón is one of many indigenous communities in Mexico which is struggling against the dispossession of its lands to make way for megaprojects promoted by the three levels of government and the big businesses they serve. The ethical and legal rights of the communities to their land are both ignored. It seems that there is here a culture of impunity, and that people throughout Mexico who defend the mother earth can be cut down and their killers will not be identified or punished. The ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón say “the government uses public forces, such as the state preventive police, the army and the federal police to terrorize communities and so imposes terror to achieve its goals.”

We believe we again see here a much larger pattern, one of the criminalisation, intimidation and elimination of protest. The killings of journalists, human rights defenders and activists defending the land are increasing. It seems to be part of a message being sent by the powerful to threaten and terrorise those who take part in social movements or mobilisations of dissent. This can also been seen, for example, in regions such as San Salvador Atenco and many communities in the state of Oaxaca.

It is clear that the culture of impunity also extends to the multinational banks and corporations which can plunder the lands, extract the heart of the earth, uproot the trees, poison the earth and the water, steal the rivers and displace the original populations, thereby causing death, sickness and devastation, all with complete impunity. It seems that money can buy anything, whatever the cost to the original inhabitants of these lands.

We see that the state is seeking, through repression, murder and impunity, to establish the dispossession and privatization of indigenous territories in order to ensure that the land is handed over for the implementation of large-scale projects, designed by international private corporations or organizations, and that this is an integral part of the strategy of dispossession of the indigenous peoples. We see that this is what is happening to the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, and it is in support of their rights that we address our concerns to you.

We insist that it is essential and fundamental to guarantee the safety and security of those who seek to defend the communally held lands of indigenous peoples against plunder and dispossession.

We offer our total support to the community of San Sebastián Bachajón in their continuing struggle. We raise our voices to demand justice and call for an end to impunity. We demand respect for the rights of the indigenous Tzeltal peoples of San Sebastián Bachajón, as established under ILO Convention 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, both of which have been signed by the Mexican government. And we insist that their ethical and moral rights to justice, freedom and a dignified life are also respected.

We therefore make the following demands:

  • A full and fair investigation into the material and intellectual authors of the assassinations of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, and punishment of those responsible
  • Respect for the fundamental human rights of the indigenous Tzeltal peoples of San Sebastián Bachajón, and guarantees for their security and integrity
  • Respect and guarantees for their right to the full use and enjoyment of their territory and to self-determination and the construction of their autonomy
  • An end to the plunder and dispossession, the theft of commons, the militarisation of the area, and to the threats and violence being experienced
  • A fair, impartial and objective resolution of amparo 274/2011

 

We will continue to monitor closely any developments in the area of San Sebastián Bachajón, and we will hold you, the three levels of government, responsible for any violence, attacks, killings or acts of harassment and intimidation that may occur, to the ejidatarios adherents to the Sixth Declaration, or to their legal representatives and supporters.

It is both illegal and immoral to terrorise a people in to giving up its lands. Money cannot buy absolution. Impunity is not justice.

Respectfully

UK Zapatista Solidarity Network:

-Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group

-Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group

-Kiptik (Bristol)

-London Mexico Solidarity Group

-Manchester Zapatista Collective

-UK Education, Culture and Communication team

-UK Zapatista Translation Service

-Zapatista Solidarity Group – Essex

-Individual members of the network

 

 

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From Montreal, Canada: The Circle of Indigenous Nations in Solidarity with San Sebastián Bachajón

Cercle desOn Thursday the first of May in the city of Montreal, The Circle of Indigenous Nations of the University of Québec in Montréal: “Circle of First Nations of UQAM”, held its monthly cultural evening. In this event the video “Bachajón, Dispossession is death, Life is resistance” was screened as part of the two weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vazquez Guzman Lives, the Bachajón Struggle Continues! This video shows the struggle of the indigenous people of Bachajón in Mexico; and thus not to forget the murder of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, or that of Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano.

Those present were outraged at the treatment given by the Mexican government to the indigenous people of Bachajón. It was emphasized that in Canada, although the climate of violence is less, the Canadian government does not respect the rights of indigenous peoples either. At the same time the organizers voiced their solidarity with the two weeks of worldwide action and with the Sixth Declaration.

Respect for the rights of our brothers in Mexico!

 

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From Springfield, Massachusetts, US: Support for San Sebastián Bachajón

bachajon-niños-trompoOn May 6, 2014, The Springfield No One Leaves/Nadie Se Mude Bank Tenant Association showed the most recent video from the ejidatorios (communal landholders) of San Sebastian Bachajón. After the screening there was discussion about the common struggle to fight corporate greed and displacement.  Members of the Springfield No One Leaves Bank Tenant Association felt a lot of solidarity to the struggle of the people of San Sebastian Bachajón. They send this message of solidarity to the people of San Sebastian Bachajón.

Message of Solidarity

The Springfield No One Leaves/Nadie Se Mude Bank Tenants Association stands in solidarity with the people of San Sebastián Bachajón. We stand by them in their struggle for indigenous autonomy and self-determination, and their right to their ancestral land. We send our condolences to the friends and family of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and all those who have sacrificed themselves in the struggle for justice against a government in service of corporate profits. We demand an end to the criminalization of resistance and an end to the use of violence by the state, which has unjustly robbed the people of San Sebastián Bachajón. We find your fight for land in San Sebastián Bachajón important to our struggle to keep our homes in Springfield, MA.  Keep fighting, we are with you in spirit and hearts.

In Solidarity,

Springfield No One Leaves/Nadie Se Mude Bank Tenant Association
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FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJON, ADHERENT TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 8th MAY, 2014

 To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international collectives and committees of solidarity

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world

bachajon circulo_Mesa de trabajo 26 copia 6 English round largeCompañeros and compañeras, we denounce with profound rage the paramilitaries of the bad government who assassinated the Zapatista compañero Galeano in the community of La Realidad, Chiapas, because this is the way that the bad government wants to put an end to the autonomy of the peoples and the organizations who resist capitalism.

So it was that they killed our compañeros Juan Vázquez Guzmán on April 24, 2013 and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano on March 21, 2014, to finish with our peaceful struggle which is for land and freedom for the people.

Today marks the end of the days of worldwide action that began on April 24, organized by Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York and the committees of the true word from various parts of the world, for this reason we want to thank all the compañeros and compañeras of Mexico and the world who showed solidarity, who sent your messages and who are following the actions of our people; we also send our thanks to the free media who took our word to places where we could not have taken it without your cooperation and solidarity.

We want to say that you keep struggling from your geographies in the ways you can, our people also continue struggling until the last breath of life because the dispossession does not stop, the bad government does not rest, and uses the resources and the ejidal authorities as puppets to achieve their goal to privatize our land to do business, and to put an end to our people and culture.

We inform you that on 2 May, the Seventh District Judge in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, who has in his hands the amparo 274/2011, which our organization launched against the dispossession of the bad government, said again that our amparo is not valid on the pretext that the presence of government in our land does not affect the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, that there is no dispossession because the officialist commissioner, Alejandro Moreno Gomez, is in agreement with the presence of the government.

We denounce this corruption and bad justice which is done by the government, because it does not protect the territories of the indigenous peoples, because it is easier to take away the land from the campesinos to give it to the government and big business.

But the people have the last word and we will not allow the government to take the legacy of our grandparents, we are willing to give our lives for our mother earth, because the lives of our fallen compañeros Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano have not been in vain, they gave their lives for their people.

Compañeros and compañeras and peoples of Mexico and the world who resist the dispossession and death of the capitalist system, from the northern zone of the state of Chiapas, Mexico, we send you an embrace and combative greeting from the men and women of San Sebastián Bachajón.

Never again a Mexico without us

Attentively

Land and Freedom!

Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No dispossession of indigenous territories!

 

 

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From Madrid we joined the Two Weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives, the Bachajón struggle continues! 

0– We sent a videotaped greeting for the compas: https://vivabachajon.wordpress.com/videos/

– On the 5th May we published an article in the online edition of the newspaper Diagonal which can be seen at:

https://www.diagonalperiodico.net/global/22769-comunidad-indigena-acosada-y-agredida-se-mantiene-resistencia.html

PLATAFORMA DE SOLIDARIDAD CON CHIAPAS Y GUATEMALA DE MADRID

 

titulo-chis

 

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British group relaunched as a result of the Two Weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

accion-bachajon_2_julio-2012-640x330Ten years ago, Zap Sol UK was a very active Zapatista support group, bringing together people from a wide area of the British Isles. People moved away and became active in other struggles, and the group stopped meeting. Meanwhile things in the country got much worse, and services which should be the basic right of every human being in the world – healthcare, housing, education, social security, warmth, food – were taken away from us by the greedy capitalists in their insane desire to make more and more money at the expense of those from below. In a nation once admired throughout the world for its welfare state people now freeze to death, starve, and take their own lives in despair. Our basic freedoms are taken from us daily. Now more than ever we need to unite our struggles, only together can we bring down the filthy capitalist system. So we turned once again to the Zapatistas and to the spirit of an injury to one is an injury to all.

San Sebastian Bachajon is not a Zapatista community, but an adherent to the sixth declaration of the EZLN. When we heard about the tragic and violent killings of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano we knew we must make their struggle our own and link with the campaign being organised in their honour and in defence of their people. We responded to the call to hold a screening of the video and 27 people came and learned with horror the story of repression and death being meted out to those who defend their land and territory.

Here our common lands were stolen from us in the acts of enclosure 600 years ago, and we no longer own a handful of earth. But we fight against roads, against airports, against mining, against fracking. We stretch out our hands to our comrades in San Sebastian Bachajon and offer them our support in their fight to retain the land of their great grandparents and for liberation and justice.

Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Zap Sol UK, 8th May 2014

 

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In El Barrio, New York: Community Tribute in Honor of Beloved Compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán

tributoaOn April 24th, members of Movement for Justice in El Barrio, humble immigrants who struggle for dignity and against neoliberal displacement, came together to reaffirm their solidarity with San Sebastián Bachajón and to honor the fallen compañeros Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano.

It was a group of majority immigrant women that night. In Movement for Justice in El Barrio, members organize block by block and door to door to defend their community and families from the attempts of greedy property owners to push them out of their community. The landlords and the bad government that helps them want to impose their culture of money by replacing the low-income immigrant community members with people with more money who will move in and line the pockets of those from above.

On this special evening, members of Movement for Justice in El Barrio focused all of their attention on San Sebastián Bachajón. They screened the recent video from the ejidatarios (communal landholders) of San Sebastián Bachajón which documented the violent, tragic death of Juan Vasquez Guzman a year ago and the recent death of Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano. Both of these men lost their lives due to the greed of the bad government and the corporations that they serve. The short video created by the community of San Sebastián Bachajón inviting people from around the world to the April 26th commemoration of the life and death of Juan Vasquez Guzman was also screened.

Many members of Movement for Justice in El Barrio then spoke passionately about the struggle of the compas in San Sebastián Bachajón and the conditions of their own lives in El Barrio as immigrants and humble people fighting to defend their homes and community, much as the ejidatarios are fighting to defend their land. A compañera spoke of the right to a dignified place to live and her comments were echoed by another compañera who said that in El Barrio they fight for dignified housing and in San Sebastián Bachajón they struggle for dignified land. Members said that the conditions that the ejidatarios face in their community are similar to those that forced the majority of immigrants in El Barrio to leave their homeland. Immigrants in El Barrio were denied the chance to remain in their native land, go to school, to prepare for and find dignified jobs, to live healthy lives with a roof over their heads and with freedom. This caused them to leave their beloved Mexico.

tributodThe spirit of struggle of their beloved compa Juan Vázquez Guzmán and San Sebastián Bachajón have been a great inspiration to the community of El Barrio. For members of Movement, Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives in their hearts. Members of Movement for Justice in El Barrio said that it’s of utmost importance to continue organizing themselves against displacement in El Barrio and supporting their sisters and brothers in struggle of San Sebastián Bachajón. One compañera voiced a shared view that poor and humble people must support each other in El Barrio and support the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón in their struggle in defense of their natural resources. Members reaffirmed their commitment to continue supporting San Sebastián Bachajón by spreading their dignified struggle far and wide and organizing solidarity activities.
Finally, one member of Movement for Justice in El Barrio, who is a woman, mother, worker and member, read the communiqué from the women of the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón. The women and men of El Barrio, who organize against displacement and eviction, said they were inspired to hear from the women of San Sebastián Bachajón who face similar problems along with “the policies of death.”  And as they are motivated “to continue resisting the policies of death and contempt of the bad government,” the members of Movement for Justice in El Barrio expressed motivation by them. Members stated that they admire the courage of these women who do not back down in fear to the violence of the bad government. “With these killings the government thought it could stop our struggle, but it was wrong, the life and the path of our brothers lives on in our hearts and gives us the strength to continue to defend our mother earth.” Hearing these words, members expressed their renewed desire to carry out the struggle for dignity and against displacement in El Barrio and to support the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón in their just struggle.

“We as women and compañeras fight for justice for our people, so that our mother earth is not handed over like a commodity, and the killings of our brothers do not go unpunished.” As the women of San Sebastián Bachajón are fighting so that their land is not sold off to the highest bidder, members of Movement for Justice in El Barrio fight under the battle cry, “El Barrio is Not for Sale, It is to be Loved and Defended!” And as the memory of Juan Vasquez Guzman and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano were honored in San Sebastián Bachajón, on April 24th in El Barrio, NY they were honored as well.

There are more photos here: https://vivabachajon.wordpress.com/ultimas-noticias/

 

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General condemnation of the murder of the teacher Luis Solís López

**Intellectuals demand the cessation of attacks on the EZLN school

**National and international organizations join the cry of Enough!

Hermann Bellinghausen

La Jornada
Friday 9 May 2014

The English writer John Berger, the Mexican sociologist Pablo González Casanova and the leaders Hugo Blanco Galdós of Peru and Carlos González of Mexico expressed their “deepest indignation at the attacks being suffered by our compañer@s, bases of support of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) in the caracol of La Realidad.”

Invited by the EZLN to participate, during the first week of June, in the seminar Ethics against dispossession, the intellectuals said: “Throughout the 20 years of public existence of the EZLN, we have observed that, since January 12, 1994, despite countless provocations, the Zapatistas have committed, with a deep political-ethical determination, not to permit confrontation between indigenous.”

“Now, an organization that calls itself CIOAC Historical is being used by the state and federal governments as a paramilitary arm to attack our compañer@s, trying to pretend that this is an inter-community confrontation. They did so in Acteal, they so do now. Only someone with very bad intentions could accept this interpretation.”

This has consequently, they added, led to the “murder in cold blood of compañero José Luis Solís López, teacher in the zone at the Escuelita ‘Freedom according to the Zapatistas’. One of our votans has been killed and others have been injured.”

In a brief message, they conclude, “we demand an end now, and definitively, to these attacks against what is the most established civilising project existing in Mexico and the world. A country and a world torn by violence and crime promoted by the power of money. To our votans we send a message: “All your students will be with you at your side, and will not remain unmoved in the face of these attacks. We say to the governments ‘enough!’”

In another statement, Latin American students from the Zapatista Escuelita, from Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela and Bolivia said: “we are sustained by rage and frozen by sadness.” The means and method of ambush and murder, “alongside the destruction of collective material goods such as cutting the water supply to the population, material damage to the autonomous school and Clinic, as well as damage to their work vehicles are nothing but paramilitary actions under the tactical-military strategy of counterinsurgency which continues in Chiapas.

Organizations and groups have spoken similarly, such as Ya Basta, Milan (Italy), the Central General de Trabajadores (CGT) and caracol de Zaragoza (Spanish State) as well as the Catalan groups Adhesiva Espai de Trobada i Acció, Educación para la Acción Crítica, Grupo de investigación en Derechos Humanos and Sostenibilidad y Connexió de Recursos per a l’Acció Comunitària.

In Mexico, collectives from Puebla, the Federal District and Guadalajara, the Ñathö community of San Francisco Xochicuautla and the Tlachinollan rights centre from Guerrero condemned the murder of Solís López, “compañero Galeano,” and the attacks against the  Zapatista bases Romeo Jiménez López, Andulio Gómez López, Abacuc Jiménez López, Yadiel Jiménez López, Efraín, Gerardo, Ignacio, Esaú, Noé, Saúl, Elder Darinel, Héctor, Marín, Nacho and Jairo, all of them wounded during the attack which took place during the afternoon of 2nd May in the Tojolabal community of La Realidad.

Finally, the ejidatarios of the sixth from San Sebastián Bachajón denounced masde2that the “paramilitaries who assassinated the Zapatista compañero Galeano (Solís López),” represent “the way that the bad government wants to put an end to the autonomy of the peoples and the organizations who resist capitalism. So it was that they killed our compañeros Juan Vázquez Guzmán on April 24, 2013 and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano on March 21, 2014, to finish off our peaceful struggle which is for land and freedom for the people.”

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/05/09/index.php?section=politica&article=018n1pol

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From the United Kingdom: The UK Zapatista Solidarity Network participates in the Two Weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives, the Bachajón struggle continues! and makes plans for future organising

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The UK Zapatista Solidarity Network, which unites groups, individuals and collectives from different parts of the British Isles, met recently in Bristol.

As part of their meeting, the Network responded to the call for participation in the Two Weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives, the Bachajón struggle continues! During the meeting, the video “Bachajón – Dispossession is death, Life is resistance.” was screened. This video is being shared all over the world as part of this initiative, and 9 screenings have been organised in England alone.

The network as a whole, as well as the individual groups, has already signed the European Pronouncement in Support of the Two Weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives! The Bachajón struggle continues!which was promoted by the Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group from Scotland.

The UK Network has a history of support actions for the the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, and their dignified struggle against dispossession from their lands to enable the building of an elite “eco” tourist complex. Two community activists, Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, have now been assassinated as a result.

A long discussion followed the screening.  It was pointed out that dispossession of indigenous peoples for a super-elite tourism has already happened in other parts of Mexico, for example, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve in Quintana Roo. The indigenous are not allowed to live there any more, and are only allowed in as servants. It is now a rich peoples’ “paradise” which excludes nearly everyone.

The tourist development is part of an infrastructure programme including the newly opened airport at Palenque and the new highway being built from San Cristóbal de las Casas to Palenque, which is also meeting fierce resistance from some indigenous communities on the route. The meeting discussed reviving an earlier Europe-wide campaign organised around the issues of tourism and dispossession in relation to Agua Azul. This is an elite tourism made possible by dispossession and assassination, an expensive holiday at the cost of other people’s misery.  Do the liberal elites know the implications of their “eco” tourist paradise?

Those present felt that the history of struggle of San Sebastián Bachajón is part of a countrywide struggle, and that they need to take action in response. The situation is of increasing concern – assassinations without repercussions, people in prison who have committed no crimes, a culture of impunity, physical and structural violence and dispossession affecting the whole of Mexico. Governments, banks and corporations violate human rights, the rule of law and all moral and ethical norms with impunity on a daily basis, buying silence in the face of their crimes; money has replaced ethics as the basis of action. This has creating a fear to speak out or protest; those who do so face imprisonment, torture and assassination.

The meeting agreed that when presenting the Bachajón video, it should be done in the context of the ethics of dispossession and impunity. No money in the world can pay for the lives of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano. The mother earth, the countryside and cities are being plundered and sold without consultation. It was decided that the main organising efforts of the network should concentrate on the theme of the forthcoming EZLN seminar on “Ethics in the face of Dispossession.”

It was decided to raise these proposals at the forthcoming meeting of the Europa Zapatista network, to be held in June. They could also be the theme of a forum at this year’s London Anarchist Bookfair. Network members agreed to write a letter voicing their deep concerns and to deliver it to the Mexican Embassy in London.

The UK Zapatista Solidarity Network sends greetings of solidarity to the compas of San Sebastián Bachajón, and thanks the women of the ejido for their moving message.

 

The video “Bachajón – Dispossession is death, Life is resistance.” Can be viewed on:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJkVziBk214
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Juan Vázquez, memory and pride of Bachajón.

Report of the “Committee of Solidarity with the Peoples” from Cantabria, Spain, on the first anniversary of the death social activist Juan Vázquez, Tzeltal indigenous assassinated in northern Chiapas.

Juan Vázquez, memory and pride of Bachajón.

Iker Garcia Urbina

28th April, 2014

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On 26th April, the dignified people of San Sebastián Bachajón, in the municipality of Chilón , honoured the memory of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, community leader, defender of indigenous rights and adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, killed a year ago at the hands of paramilitaries.

The political act was held at the headquarters of the adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, at Cumbre Na’choj, and was attended by Juan’s relatives and community members, as well as autonomous authorities and various members of social organizations and international collectives who wanted to show solidarity and support the event.

During the commemoration, which began with words of welcome to all present, a minute of silence was observed in memory of the compañeros and a prayer was raised for the late Juan Vázquez Guzmán.

This was followed by the contribution of the autonomous authorities present at the event, who reaffirmed the struggle that the communities are carrying out against the injustices of the bad government and in the defence of territory as the basis of their way of life. In this sense they remembered the late Juan Vázquez Guzmán as an example to follow of strength, conviction and generosity.

They also remembered the recently assassinated Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, who at the time of his death was a Regional Coordinator of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle for the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón.

In the contribution of the relatives of Juan Vázquez, they demanded justice and denounced the impunity with which both murders were committed, and the total inaction of the appropriate authorities, whether state, federal, or local, some of whom are linked to armed paramilitary groups.

Bachajón is not alone in its struggle

There were many expressions of solidarity shown by various national and international groups to the people of Bachajón.

In addition to the words spoken by the women of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón and members of the ejido San Jerónimo, both adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, some of the statements and messages of support from both Mexican and international organizations were read out. Among the examples of international solidarity letters were received from France, the Spanish State, Italy, Germany, the UK, Norway, and New Zealand, among others. Also compañeros from solidarity organizations in the Basque Country and Cantabria, who were present at the event, addressed some words of affection and solidarity to the dignified people of San Sebastián Bachajón.

A whole day of solidarity and community in dignified joy

During the day, in addition to the homage, some fun activities and workshops were also held, in which the whole community participated, especially the smallest ones, who enjoyed moments of joy and revelry.

On Friday afternoon members of social organizations aboard the climate caravan arrived in Bachajón, and the community offered them a warm welcome. Even before dinner the youngest ones, and some not so young, spent an enjoyable time with inflatable balloons and twisted balloon figures which the visitors gave them. After a delicious dinner in the community, some short films and a documentary were screened to entertain them the night before the celebration.

After the ceremony, silkscreen workshops were also held, where anyone who wished to could print their shirt with the image of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, and the words “Juan Vázquez lives” and “the Bachajón struggle continues”. The balloon twisting workshop was also repeated by popular demand from the children.

In addition, the participants in the climate caravan surprised the children with their giant mural under the title “Mesoamerica resists,” where we can find representations of some of the struggles which are being carried out on the continent in defence of the territory and the environment. Subsequently it was the young ones who surprised the visitors with their artistic talents filling the illustration with colour.

On April 26, the dignified people of San Sebastián Bachajón remembered and honoured Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano not with mourning, but with pride, joy and commitment to continue their struggle.

 

http://www.pozol.org/?p=9345

 

 

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Impunity and Dispossession in Mexico: Life and death, land and resistance: San Sebastián Bachajón on the anniversary of the assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán 

The following article has been published on Upside Down World: http://upsidedownworld.org/main/mexico-archives-79/4822-impunity-and-dispossession-in-mexico-san-sebastian-bachajon-on-the-anniversary-of-the-assassination-of-juan-vazquez-guzman

In San Sebastián Bachajón, the impunity given to their attackers has not stopped the resistance to the dispossession of their lands.

The bad government, say the ejidatarios: “uses public forces, such as the state preventive police, the army and the federal police to terrorize communities and so imposes terror to achieve its goals.”

bachajon circulo_Mesa de trabajo 26 copia 6 English round largeIn recognition of the first anniversary of the assassination of community leader and defender of the land, Juan Vázquez Guzmán, Two Weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives! The Bachajón struggle continues! have been called, from Thursday,  April 24 to Thursday, May 8, 2014. As part of this initiative, the screening of the video “Bachajón – Dispossession is death, Life is resistance” is being promoted internationally.

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“What the government does is send people to jail or order their killing like Juan Vázquez Guzmán. Our struggle is not for economic or political power. It is for the people, the mother earth and the territory.” – Marcelo Mariano López, Bachajón

On April 24, 2013, Juan Vázquez Guzmán, much-loved spokesperson and activist in defence of the people, the land and the territory of the ejido (communal landholding) of San Sebastián Bachajón, was killed with six gunshots in the doorway of his home, in what was widely interpreted as a political assassination. His killers, and those who ordered his killing, remain unpunished, and the plans of the government and corporations to dispossess the ejidatarios (common landholders) of their territory, in order to construct a luxury tourist development, continue. But the indigenous Tzeltal community of San Sebastián Bachajón is staying organized, carrying on the struggle for their rights and keeping alive the memory of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and his work in the service of his people.

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The struggle for the land

55ad9-img_3775Founded in 1980 by the original Tzeltal inhabitants, the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón is situated in the municipality of Chilón, in Chiapas, south-east Mexico. It is, at 70,000 hectares, one of the largest ejidos in the country, in an area of great biodiversity and natural beauty. The land is rich in natural resources, verdant jungle, wildlife and water. The spectacular waterfalls of Agua Azul, renowned for the turquoise colour of their water at certain times of year, crash and thunder in the neighbouring municipality of Tumbalá, but to gain access to the “Ecotourism Centre” there it is necessary to cross through the ejido of Bachajón, which is why an intense conflict has arisen.

As part of the Plan Mesoamerica, the Mexican government, in consultation with transnational corporations, has drawn up plans, through the National Tourism Foundation (FONATUR), for the Palenque Integrally Planned Centre (CIPP), a network of infrastructure and services through which the natural and archaeological attractions will be used to promote an elite tourism, resulting in the displacement of the indigenous population. Agua Azul is to be the focus of this development, with very expensive luxury hotels accessed by helicopter, which the ejidatarios describe as: “neoliberal tourism projects which are only for the rich, and for which we will only carry the luggage and clean the toilets.” This plan also involves a highway from San Cristóbal de las Casas to Palenque, and the new international airport at Palenque, which was inaugurated on February 12, 2014 by Manuel Velasco Coello, governor of Chiapas, and Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico.

Much of the land worked by the ejidatarios is reclaimed land, recuperated from large ranchers and landowners in 1994. To the indigenous peoples land is everything – it is the mother earth which gives them life and feeds them, it is their ancestors, their history, their culture, their honour, their identity. The attempts over the last eight years to strip them of their communally owned and worked territory have been relentless, marked by threats, violence, terror, imprisonment, torture, paramilitary activity, and a constant police and military presence.

The ejidatarios described their situation in a communiqué on 17 August, 2013: “The struggle of our people of San Sebastian Bachajón is to conserve our indigenous territory which we inherited from our ancestors, it is where we live, it gives us life and identity. We are defending our land with our lives if necessary, against the ambition of the government and of the lords of money who want to build luxury hotels, golf courses and runways for rich tourists, at the cost of the exploitation, marginalization and discrimination of our people; faced with the defence we have mounted against these projects the government has had only one answer: repression, imprisonment and death.”

History of resistance

10274140_637521462990538_5117039194093089329_n (1)“The Tzeltales are a combative people”, says their lawyer Ricardo Lagunes Gasca in the film ‘Bachajón – Dispossession is death. Life is resistance,’ “they have always defended and sought to keep control of their territory.” On March 19, 2007, many of the ejidatarios of San Sebastian Bachajón declared themselves adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, an initiative promoted by the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN). They marked this action by appointing their own authorities, as the ejidal officials were very close to the government. As they put it in a communique: “Since 2007 the bad government has intervened in the internal life of our community to impose ejidal representatives as they please, who serve them as if they were their minions to defend the interests of the capitalists and not those of the indigenous people.”

Following this decision in 2007, the adherents decided to exert their right as original peoples to free determination over their land and its resources, and erected a tollbooth in their territory where tourists would pay to visit the Agua Azul waterfalls. It was decided in their assembly what to do with the money taken. Mainly, they say, it was used for the sick, and to support families in need, but this money was not just used for the adherents to the Sixth Declaration, it was available to every member of the community who was experiencing hard times, including the government supporters.

The tollbooth became a focal point for the conflict. There was a violent eviction in 2009. The booth was reclaimed, but on February 2, 2011, in a huge operation, police and armed political party supporters again evicted the ejidatarios and 117 people were arrested. At this time, the authorities not only took over control of the tollbooth, they also illegally seized 2,590 square metres of communally owned lands.

As a result, in March 2011, the ejidatarios filed a petition for amparo (legal protection) in defence of their territory, a case that has still not been resolved. In January and March 2014, the ejidatarios denounced that the government-supporting authorities of ejido were attempting, through fraud and deception, to seek the annulment of the case for amparo 274/2011. On 5th February 2014 the ejidatarios adherents to the Sixth Declaration demanded, before the Unitary Agricultural Tribunal in Comitán, the annulment of the appointment of the ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez, and the other officialist ejidal authorities, for their failure to act in accordance with the Agrarian Law and the traditional laws of the community. The case remains ongoing.

It is in this context that the political murder of Juan Vázquez Guzmán must be set. Active in the defence of the land and territory of Bachajón since 2006, on April 18, 2010, he was made Secretary General of the three centres of the ejido. “People sought him out a lot for his skills and abilities to relate to the world of the Caxlanes(white people, non-indigenous),” said Lagune Gasca, “to defend and translate the problems of the indigenous communities and to put them on the table of the authorities”.

A second assassination

Bachajón-Colectivo_Cero-LR-1On March 21st, 2014, Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, a regional coordinator for the Sixth in Bachajón, was ambushed and killed with over twenty gunshots. At the time of his death he was travelling to his community of Virgen de Dolores, which, along with the community of Nah Choj, was founded by the adherents to the Sixth Declaration in 2010.

In the film, ‘Land and Resistance in San Sebastián Bachajón’, the ejidatarios describe the recuperation of the lands of Virgen de Dolores. “On 31 December 2009 we ‘entered’ the lands which the Caxlanes had taken from us, but really these lands did not belong to them but to our ancestors, so we their children decided to recover them”….” the Caxlanes were not working the lands which they stole, just using them for livestock. Now, in contrast, we work with the machete, we grow corn, plant coffee, yams, squash, banana…and to poor people who suffer like us we give a bit of help sometimes to support them a little.” “Up to now, we have not bought anything, we harvest everything here in this land.” “The land is like our mother, we live here, we eat here, we die here and then we remain here.”

“Compañero Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano,” say the ejidatarios in a communiqué of 31 March, “is part of the foundation and construction of autonomy in the Virgen de Dolores community, his work for the organization and the community will never be forgotten because we carry it in our hearts…. Ever since we founded the communities of Nah Choj and Virgen de Dolores in 2010, our organization has been harassed at various times by the army and state preventive police, threatening us with eviction…..

“The bad government wants to finish us off completely by assassinating our compañeros, using their paramilitary gunmen, who with complete impunity, whether by night or in the full light of day, are able to vilely murder our compañeros who are working and struggling to construct a world in which other worlds fit.”

Dispossession and repression throughout Mexico

masde3Bachajón’s lawyer emphasises that the strategies of dispossession are the same throughout Mexico. “The government arrives, divides the communities, buys leaders or ejidatarios, undermines struggles, promotes one group and treats it as legitimate, represses, imprisons and kills those who do not agree with it.” He continues: “With repression and impunity, the State is seeking a way to establish dispossession and privatization of indigenous territories to ensure that land is handed over for the implementation of large-scale projects, designed by international private corporations or organizations. This is an integral part of the strategy of dispossession of indigenous peoples.” This strategy can be seen a continuation of the 522-year long racist attack against indigenous people, subjecting them to persecution, discrimination and marginalisation; it is also another instance of ‘accumulation by dispossession’.

A recently-released report by Global Witness reveals a surge in the killing of activists protecting land rights and the environment over the past decade, with nearly three times as many deaths in 2012 as there were10 years previously. Between 2002 and 2013, at least 908 activists were killed in 35 countries, with only 10 convictions. The death rate has risen in the past four years to an average of two activists a week.

This report highlights what has become a campaign of terror against defenders of territory, using incarceration and assassination as its weapons. The bad government, say the ejidatarios: “uses public forces, such as the state preventive police, the army and the federal police to terrorize communities and so imposes terror to achieve its goals.” It “wants to fill our lands with death and fear, so we get tired and no longer continue to defend our life, the people, our mother earth.”

Juan Vázquez Guzmán – where they sow fear, they also sow resistance

10271560_638427756233242_1218581413052209398_nIn the video promoted by the campaign, the ejidatario Domingo Pérez explains that for the people of San Sebastián Bachajón Juan is not dead, he still lives with them in the struggle for land, territory, freedom and justice. They can never forget him or give up the struggle because he is struggling beside them. “What will we teach our children? And to our children’s children?” “Juan lives, so the struggle of Bachajon lives!”

In their contribution to the Indigenous National Congress, Juan’s people said: “We know that the lords of money and power are planning everywhere, day and night, how to end our world, wanting us and all we represent to disappear. We who are indigenous struggle to continue to be what we are, to build our own way of life and to conserve our territory, defending it from the ambition of those above, because to them we are only an obstacle to their being increasingly rich and powerful; they order the killing of our brothers, dignified men and women who fight to defend the Mother Earth, they imprison us, torture us and make us disappear, but they forget that we are one, that we are not alone and that as children of the earth our roots are still alive in spite of all the death that they offer us.

Their homage finishes: “Juan Vázquez Guzmán, you are the heart of the people, you live in every child, woman and man who defends the people and struggles for justice. You told us that the land the mountains and the waterfalls belong to those who take care of them, that is why you defended and gave your life for the mother earth….Your word will be etched in our minds and we will carry your example throughout our lives. Compa Juan, you will live for always amongst your people, your heart was very great. Viva Juan Vázquez Guzmán!”

**

The Two Weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives! The Bachajón struggle continues!from Thursday, April 24th to Thursday, May 8th, 2014, follows a very successful week of action held last year, and intends to draw attention to the struggle of the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, and honour the living memory of Juan Vázquez Guzmán. Movement for Justice in El Barrio, Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group, the Committee of the True Word from Kolkata, India and the Committee of the
True Word from Alisal are calling for solidarity actions especially the organising of screenings of the video ‘Bachajón – Dispossession is death, Life is resistance.’

**

This article was first published in Spanish in Desinformémonos: http://desinformemonos.org/2014/04/la-vida-y-la-muerte-la-tierra-y-la-resistencia-en-san-sebastian-bachajon/

Watch the videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJkVziBk214       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kfc4Z0YpvE

For further information in English: https://vivabachajon.wordpress.com/en-ingles/

 

 

 

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Red Contra La Represión: One year after the murder of Juan Vazquéz Guzmán, a letter to the members of the San Sebastián Bachajón ejido

To our friends from San Sebastián Bachajón, family members and friends of Juan Vazquéz Guzmán:

10173586_636329939776357_8832317130140690337_n (1)It is one year ago that Juan Vazquéz Guzmán was murdered. One year ago, and the crime still goes unpunished, as a taunt, as a sign, as a warning to those who have decided to walk the path towards freedom. Although we have only taken the first steps of the Sexta – with its stumbling blocks and lessons, with joy, with pain and rage – we are already an affront to those who want to see us immobile, to keep us within paternalism, dependent subjects of power, obedient, delegating our political and social responsibilities to those who will use them for their own gain – personal and family, party and power.

With you, we are walking and learning so much, and with you we also feel the pain, the rage and the unease of the crime. We cannot forget our dead, we cannot forget our friend Juan Vazquéz Guzmán, his joy, his spirit and his struggle. Neither can we forget the recent murder of our friend Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, our young friend, 22 years of age, or forget that their murders have been planned from some government or business office in order to halt the process being developed in its territory, so much does it bother, so much does it hurt the economic and power interests in the area and outside it.

Often, words in response to pain and death are limited; often they do not manage to communicate all that we feel. The poet Rafael Alberti expresses it well:

When so much we suffer sleepless for blood,
circulating in the air, they only hear rage,
that in the marrow, hate awakens and trembles
and in the flesh, vengeance continuously throbs
and words then do not work: they’re words.

Manifestos, articles, commentaries, discourses,
drifting smoke, patterned mists,
what paper pain that the wind must sweep away,
what ink mourning that water must erase!

Nonetheless, our word too, we believe, is not just confined to paper. It also trangresses the limits of discourses and ink and is incarnate, it lives in our acts, and in the building of worlds, as our Zapatista friends show us exemplarily, as do others in other parts of Mexico, of the continent, of the world, as do you from the corner of Chiapas called San Sebastián Bachajón.

Juan Vázquez lives!
Juan Carlos Gómez lives!
Our struggles continue!

Against dispossession and repression:
solidarity!
Red Contra la Represión y por la Solidaridad
(RvsR)

 

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From Dusseldorf, Germany: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives! The struggle of Bachajón continues!
 

 SolidaridadBachajon

 

To our friends from the San Sebastián Bachajón ejido:
To our friends adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle:
To our Zapatista friends:
To our friends from the Movimiento por Justicia del Barrio (New York), from Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group (England), from the Committee of the True Word in Calcutta (India), and from the Committee of the True Word in Alisal (California):
To our friends in the entire world:

Dusseldorf, Germany, 26th April, 2014

Friends:

On the 24th of April, 2014, we held in our autonomous social centre an event about the so-caled “development policy” of the bad government of our country, Germany. This policy, which means nothing but development by plunder, traverses the world, defending the interests of power and capital. It is neo-colonial and exploitative. The event has been dedicated exclusively to the “Selva Maya” project which is being carried out in the south of Mexico, Guatemala and Belize: a project of biopiracy, through which our government and big businesses in Germany attempt to steal, in this zone, natural resources, as well as the ancestral knowledge of its inhabitants, with the aim of converting them into mere merchandise. This is a project against which innumerable communities and organizations in Chiapas and other affected areas are fighting (see http://www.aldeah.org/es/mexico-vuelve-la-biopirateria-nuestras-tierras).

During this event, we commemorated the cowardly murder of our friend Juan Vázquez Guzmán, from the San Sebastián Bachajón ejido in Chiapas, Mexico, on the 24th of April, 2013. Juan was a community leader and spokesperson for his community, which struggles against the strategy of dispossession implemented by the bad government of Mexico and big tourism businesses, which threaten the community. The bad government and said businesses want to take control of communal lands in order to construct a luxury tourist complex in the very zone that the German government is carrying out its biopiracy project. Repressing and killing, they follow through on their interests to plunder. Recently, on the 21st of March, 2014, they also killed Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, regional co-ordinator of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle in San Sebastián Bachajón.

At this event, we also reaffirmed our protest against this strategy of death and of capital. But above all, we reaffirmed our solidarity with the struggle of the San Sebastián Bachajón ejido: Friends of San Sebastián Bachajón, with the murders of Juan and Juan Carlos, the oppressors tried to end your struggle, but we know that they failed. Your struggle continues, with strength and honour.

During these days, one year after Juan’s murder, we are with you and your struggle. With our action, and the photo that we attach to this letter, we want to give you strength, both to you and to your struggle: Continue to struggle! we here too are doing the same!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives! The struggle of Bachajón continues!
Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano lives! The struggle of Bachajón continues, and continues, and continues!

Fraternally,

¡Alerta!, group from Dusseldorf/Germany
Ya Basta Rhein/Main, group from Frankfurt/Germany
and visitors from the autonomous social centre, Linkes Zentrum – Hinterhof in Dusseldorf/Germany

 

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At Bard College in New York: We Denounce the Ongoing Repression of the Community of San Sebastian Bachajón!

Compañer@s,

masde16A group of university students at Bard College in Annandale-On-Hudson, NY, organized a screening of the most recent video regarding the ejidatarios (communal landholders) of San Sebastian Bachajón. The students who screened the video represented two organized campus groups, the Student Labor Dialogue (SLD), and the Latin American Student Organization (LASO). Under the banner of the Student Labor Dialogue students and workers rally together for better wages and benefits for Bard employees. The Latin American Student Organization strives to represent Latin America and show different aspects of its culture from its traditions to its politics.

This video chronicled the experiences of the community and documented the violent, tragic death of Juan Vasquez Guzman a year ago and the recent death of Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano. Both of these men lost their lives due to the greed of the bad government and the corporations that they serve. They served as inspirations in their struggle against the wholesale theft of the land of the ejidatarios and violent harassment and repression of their peoples.

These students were appalled by the conditions and treatment that the community members face as depicted in the video. They were particularly shocked by the torture endured and described by one member of the community. They saw first-hand how the bad governments of Mexico seek to deny the people of San Sebastián Bachajón their right to self-determination, to the free enjoyment of their territory and its natural resources, and to a dignified life. It is clear that the bad governments and their corporate interests intend to seize the ancestral lands of the ejido. Regarding Bachajón, the LASO organization said: “We cannot begin to describe how much we admire the power and resistance of your community. Although we are far away, we are also fighting by your side for a more humane world and a land of freedom. Long live the struggle of San Sebastián Bachajón!”

A few days later, at their membership meeting, the Student Labor Dialogue wrote the following statement:

The Bard College Student Labor Dialogue stands in solidarity with the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón. We stand by them in their struggle for indigenous autonomy and self-determination, and their right to their ancestral land.

We send our condolences to the friends and family of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and all those who have sacrificed themselves in the struggle for justice against a government in service of corporate profits. We demand an end to the criminalization of resistance and an end to the use of violence by the state which has unjustly robbed the people of San Sebastián Bachajón. The world has seen your struggle and you are an inspiration to people fighting for justice everywhere, including our fight for economic justice on Bard’s campus.
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Colombia and England participate in the Two Weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!


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The Two Weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives! The Bachajón struggle continues!, a demand for justice for the people of this community in Chiapas, Mexico, takes place from April 24th until 8th May, 2014.  It aims to show solidarity with, and disseminate information about, the struggle of the adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle from San Sebastián Bachajón, and to remember and honour Juan Vázquez Guzmán, the assassinated activist and much-loved defender of the human rights, land and territory of this community.

As part of these two weeks, all around the world people are gathering together to watch a video entitled Bachajón – Dispossession is death, Life is resistance. The video shows the struggle of the common landholders of San Sebastián Bachajón to defend their ancestral lands and territory from dispossession to facilitate the building of an elite tourism development. As indigenous Tzeltales they experience discrimination, marginalisation and persecution as a result of their being original peoples of these lands, as well as for their love for their mother earth. Juan Vázquez Guzmán was murdered as a consequence of his leadership in this struggle, his love for his land and people, his passion for liberty and justice.

In two different towns in England, and in a community in Colombia, groups in solidarity with the compañer@s of Bachajon came together to watch this video, and to remember Juan, on April 24th, 2014, the first anniversary of his assassination. They met in the knowledge that other groups in the United Kingdom, Mexico and the United States were also joining together on that day for the same purpose. The video shows that, for his compañer@s, Juan still lives, he is still present struggling with them, and that his struggle will continue.

Tragically, a message at the end of the video tells of the recent assassination of another activist, Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, who was killed on March 21st this year. The video also tells the story of two of the men from Bachajon who were imprisoned unjustly for crimes they did not commit, and the former prisoners tell of the torture they were subjected to.

The video portrays the violence and repression experienced by this community as a result of their efforts to construct their autonomy and to live a dignified life according to their own customs and traditions, and the continual violation of their basic human rights. The three levels of government and their allies in transnational businesses use not only their police and military forces, but also fund and arm the development of local paramilitary groups to promote terror and violence. But, the ejidatarios say, they will carry on until they die, “defending what is ours, what belonged to our grandparents, the territory.”

The three groups each found the video very moving and the story very powerful. They also watched a short video of commemoration for Juan Vázquez Guzmán and his dignified life and work. We remember him, as his compañeros say, “so that his memory may remain alive and continue to give us the strength to resist the repression and the policies of death of the bad government.”  No one has been held responsible for his death by the authorities, there has been no justice.

All three groups wish to send greetings of sympathy, support and solidarity to the compas of San Sebastián Bachajón and the families of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano. They hope many other groups will screen the video and join the Two Weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives, the Bachajón struggle continues! from Thursday, April 24th to Thursday, May 8th, 2014.

 

The Committees of the True Word from Southwest England and Western Colombia and Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group

The video “Bachajón – Dispossession is death, Life is resistance.” Can be viewed on:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJkVziBk214

The video of commemoration can be viewed on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqvq9SSiGrw

 

 

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The ejido San Sebastián Bachajón demands justice for their murdered compañeros.

April 27, 2014

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“With these killings the government thought it could put a stop our struggle, but it was wrong, the life and the path of our brothers lives on in our hearts and gives us strength to continue defending our mother earth.”

10155406_638366829572668_6593997420938474535_nApril 26, 2014. This Saturday morning in Cumbre Nachoj, headquarters of the adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle from San Sebastian Bachajón, municipality of Chilón, Chiapas, indigenous communities held an act to remember Juan Vázquez Guzmán, an indigenous Tzeltal who was assassinated a year ago for defending their land, but the authorities have not identified the material and intellectual authors of the murder.

The emotional ceremony in memory of Juan Vázquez began with a minute of silence for the political assassination of the indigenous leader and for the recent death of Juan Carlos Gómez, also a Tzeltal coordinator, who a month ago was killed on the outskirts of the municipal headquarters in broad daylight for being in the resistance. During the tribute the indigenous of northern Chiapas also raised their customary prayer, in their mother tongue, for their fallen compañeros.

Subsequently the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón invited all present to sing the Mexican national anthem and the Zapatista hymn, which were sung with firmness and dignity. Moments later the ejidal authorities one by one were giving their word in their Tzeltal language, where the constant theme was their conviction to defend the land and territory, and to oppose megaprojects as did Juan Vázquez and Juan Carlos Gómez.

In this act the women of the ejido also said their word in honour of the worldwide days for justice for San Sebastian Bachajón. “We thank you very much for following our struggle, with your support we are encouraged to continue to resist the politics of death and contempt of the bad government” they said. “Our people have suffered repression and death as a result of the struggle we started in 2007 against the imposition of tourist projects which seek to take over our land to give it to businessmen,” they continued. “With these killings the government thought it could stop our struggle, but it was wrong, the life and the path of our brothers lives on in our hearts and gives us the strength to continue to defend our mother earth.” said the indigenous in resistance.

During the commemorative event the ejidatarios adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle read letters of solidarity from Milan, Italy, Mexico, the Spanish State, France, Germany, Norway, New Zealand, The United States, the Basque country and Chiapas.

Shortly afterwards the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón read a communiqué which gave evidence of the dispossession which capitalism commits on indigenous communities, and denounced the “trickery and corruption of the ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez, his vigilance councilman Samuel Díaz Guzmán and the former ejidal commissioner Francisco Guzmán Jiménez,  who are accomplices of the government’s dispossession.” Finally the Tzeltales stated unequivocally that they will continue to defend their land and territory despite the adversities they come up against.

 

http://www.pozol.org/?p=9332

 

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Homage is paid to the leaders and defenders of the land assassinated in Chilón, Chiapas

 ** Accusation of attempts to dispossess land for a toll road and a commercial centre

** “Our struggle is peaceful, but we demand respect,” say the ejido owners and adherents to the Sixth

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, a regional coordinator of the Sixth in Chilón, executed with more than 20 gunshots last March 21 on the road to his community, Virgen de Dolores. Photo: provided by the Gómez Silvano family

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, a regional coordinator of the Sixth in Chilón, executed with more than 20 gunshots last March 21 on the road to his community, Virgen de Dolores. Photo: provided by the Gómez Silvano family

Tzeltal ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, in Chilón, Chiapas, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, rendered homage this Saturday to two leaders assassinated in recent months, “who fell in the defence of their people and their territory,” Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano.

In the message read today in the community of Nah Choj, the Indigenous said: “We know that capitalism doesn’t rest day or night in order to dispossess us of our culture and of Mother Earth, because it wants to make businesses and a lot of money that goes into the pocket of the big entrepreneurs. All that capitalism leaves us is poverty, misery, violence, prison and death; it wants to kill our hope and our way of life so that only capitalist life, individualism and the law of the strongest exist.”

They remembered that Juan Vázquez Guzmán “understood the traps of the bad government and capitalism and because of that he embraced the struggle even more and the love for his people grew, working without rest for the liberation of political prisoners and for the defence of the lands. He dreamed about his people being free of the oppression of capitalism. Juan was not afraid of doing work for his people; he was always a brave compañero who struggled for his community to live well.”

The night of April 24, 2013, he was assassinated at the door of his house “by the bad government, to try to silence the voice and hope of our organization,” the ejido owners maintained; “as they also did last March 21 to Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano,” who was a regional coordinator, “still young and with a lot of participation in the organization.”

“Our struggle is peaceful, but we demand that the three levels of the bad government respect our people, because we are not going to remain seated watching how they continue violating our rights,” they emphasized.

The Tzeltal community of the Northern Zone denounced: “the contrivances and corruption of ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez, his vigilance councilman Samuel Díaz Guzmán and the former ejidal commissioner Francisco Guzmán Jiménez, who are accomplices of the government’s dispossession and are not content with what they have done. They want to continue dispossessing more lands to make way for the toll road from San Cristóbal de las Casas to Palenque and for a Aurrerá [1] commercial centre in Bachajón, because they are government puppets and have done it completely behind the back of the community for personal interest.”

Lastly, they pointed out that the situation in the country “is more difficult all the time for the communities and for the peoples. They want to accelerate the privatization of our territories and exploiting them for the million-dollar benefit of the few; it is a lie that it is for progress and development, because it is only a pretext for taking our lands away from us. They are death projects.” Therefore, they called “to struggle organized and to defend the life of our peoples,” and they greeted “the peoples and communities of Mexico and the world in resistance against the capitalist megaprojects of dispossession.”

Meanwhile, dozens of solidarity organizations from France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Spain demanded from the Mexican government “the return of communal lands to the San Sebastián Bachajón population; respect for the rights of these Tzeltal indigenous peoples over their lands and territories; respect for their right to free determination and their search for alternative ways of life.”

—————————————————————————–

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Sunday, April 27, 2014

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/04/26/politica/013n1pol

English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the International Zapatista Translation Service

 

[1] Bodega Aurrera is a Mexican discount-store owned by Walmart..

 

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A year later they ask for justice and remember Juan Vázquez in the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas.

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 April 26, 2014 was the anniversary of the death of Juan Vázquez from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón in the state of Chiapas, who was assassinated in the defence of the ejidal land and territory against tourism and highway megaprojects. His compañeros and family members met together in the community of Cumbre Na Choj to remember him and revindicate the struggle he defended until his death.

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Groups in solidarity with the indigenous campesinos attended the event and letters were read from people around the world who remembered Juan and greeted the just struggle of San Sebastián Bachajón, adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle promoted by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. The letters came from Italy, the US, France, Spain, the Basque Country, Sweden, Germany and multiple organizations in Mexico.

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During the act they also remembered compañero Juan Gómez, a Regional Coordinator of the Sixth who weeks ago was ambushed and killed, for which, as in the case of Juan Vázquez, they demanded that justice be done in the face of the impunity that prevails in both crimes.

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The Tzeltzales indigenous from Bachajón are committed to the path of autonomy and defending their land against the projects of dispossession with which capitalism threatens our people.

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For more information see the following links:

denuncia: http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2014/03/25/en-ejido-san-sebastian-bachajon-aderentes-a-la-sexta-declaracion-de-la-selva-lacandona-chiapas-mexico-a-23-de-marzo-de-2014/

Videos:

Land and Resistance in San Sebastián Bachajón: http://youtu.be/rOq9bJy6lRY

Bachajón. Dispossession is death. Life is resistance. http://youtu.be/qJkVziBk214

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http://hijosmadretierra.blogspot.mx/2014/04/a-un-ano-piden-justicia-y-recuerdan.html

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Communiqué from the political act, 26th April, 2014

FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJON, ADHERENT TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 26th APRIL 2014

 

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international collectives and committees of solidarity

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world

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Compañeros and compañeras, on this day we join together our dignified rage to honor the memory of our compañeros who fell in the defense of their people and territory, Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano.

We thank those who joined us at a distance and those who are present today in these rebel and dignified lands of San Sebastián Bachajón, receive our combative greetings in solidarity from all the Tseltal men and women of San Sebastián Bachajón, we are in struggle defending our dignity as a people and the territory that we inherited from our grandmothers and grandfathers.

We know that capitalism will not rest day and night until it has dispossessed us of our culture and mother earth, because it wants to do business and make a lot of money to go into the moneybag of the big businessmen. The only thing that capitalism leaves us is poverty, misery, violence, prison and death, it wants to put an end to our hope and our way of life so that all that exists is capitalist life, individualism and the survival of the fittest.

Juan Vázquez Guzmán understood the trickeries of the bad government and capitalism, for this reason he embraced the struggle even more and his love for his people grew, working tirelessly for the release of political prisoners and for the defense of the lands, he dreamed of his people being free from the oppression of capitalism. Juan had no fear of working for his people, he was always a brave compañero who fought for the community to live well.

On the evening of April 24, 2013, he was killed by the bad government to try to silence his voice and the hope of our organization, as they also did to our compañero Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano on March 21st, he was a regional coordinator, still only young and with a lot of participation in the organization.

The lives of our compañeros are an example to our organization, their work continues through all the compañeros who are still struggling with dignified rage every day for the liberation of the people and for respect for our way of life as indigenous people. Our struggle is peaceful, but we demand that the three levels of the bad government respect our people because we will not be sitting quietly looking while they continue violating our rights.

We denounce the deceits and corruptions of the ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez, his vigilance commissioner Samuel Díaz Guzmán, and the former ejidal commissioner Francisco Jiménez Guzmán, who are accomplices of the government plunder and are not satisfied with what they have done, they want to continue dispossessing more land to make way for the highway from San Cristobal de las Casas to Palenque and for an Aurrera shopping centre in Bachajón, because they are puppets of the government and have completely turned their backs on the community for personal interests.

The situation in the country is increasingly more difficult for the communities and peoples; they want to accelerate the privatization of our territories and exploit it for the benefit of a few millionaires, it is a lie that is for progress and development because it is just a pretext to take away the lands, they are projects of death. For this reason, the compañeros and compañeras have to organize to fight and defend the life of our people.

From the northern zone of Chiapas we send combative greetings of solidarity to the peoples and communities of Mexico and the world who are in resistance against the capitalist megaprojects of dispossession.

Never again a Mexico without us

 

Attentively

Land and Freedom!

Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No dispossession of indigenous territories!

 

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From Europe: Pronouncement in Support of the Two Weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives! The Bachajón struggle continues! from Thursday, April 24th to Thursday, May 8th, 2014!

To our sisters and brothers of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón:

To our compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle:

To our Zapatista sisters and brothers:

To the peoples of Mexico and the world:

To the independent media:

To the Committees of the True Word:

10155406_638366829572668_6593997420938474535_nWe know that the unpunished assassinations of our compañeros Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, are part of the war of extermination and dispossession against those from below which is being conducted by the governments and multinational corporations. Their aim is to eradicate the indigenous peoples of these lands, and to convert the water, the earth, even life itself into commodities, thereby plundering and destroying our mother earth in their greed and ambition to create yet more megaprojects.

The dignified struggle of the adherents to the Sixth Declaration from San Sebastián Bachajón to defend the territory which historically belongs to them, to reclaim the commonly owned lands illegally stolen from them, and to defend their way of life and the construction of their autonomy, is the reason for these vile murders. The governments and local authorities, with their state forces and their paramilitary groups, want to finish off the dignified defence of their territory by the ejidatarios of Bachajón through the use of terror, in order to build an elite tourism development.

But they will not succeed. The collective struggle for a dignified life, to “continue being what we are,” of the compañer@s from San Sebastián Bachajón continues, and we unite our struggles with theirs. We honour the memory and the continuing presence of compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán who lives and struggles alongside his people for justice, liberty, the land, the people and the territory, a struggle that has no end.

We the undersigned demand justice. We denounce these cowardly murders. We insist on a fair and open investigation and the punishment of the material and intellectual authors of these crimes. And we demand that the Mexican Government adopt all measures necessary so as to guarantee the right to life, personal integrity and security of the members of the community of San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration, and to all human rights defenders.

Furthermore, we call for the return of their common lands to the people of San Sebastián Bachajón, respect for the rights of these indigenous Tzeltal peoples to their land and territory, and respect for their right to self-determination and the search for alternative ways of life.

We offer our most sincere respects to the families of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, and send greetings of solidarity and fellowship to the women, men, children and old people of San Sebastián Bachajón. We will not forget them and we will remain watchful and alert as to what happens in their lands. We join their profound hopes that the memory of Juan Vázquez Guzmán may remain alive and continue to give them the strength to resist the repression and the policies of death of the bad government, and to move forward in their struggles towards a better world.

In the demand for justice for the people of San Sebastián Bachajón and in honour of the memory of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, we offer our full support to the initiative Two Weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives! The Bachajón struggle continues!

Signatures:

ASSI (Accion Social Sindical Internacionalista)

Caracol Zaragoza

Centro de Documentación sobre Zapatismo -CEDOZ-

CGT – Estado español

Plataforma de Solidaridad con Chiapas de Aragón

Plataforma de Solidaridad con Chiapas y Guatemala de Madrid

anna pacchiani e massimo vecchi bergamo – italia

Associazione Jambo, commercio equo Fidenza –Italia

Associazione Ya Basta! Milano

Comitato Chiapas “Maribel” Bergamo, Italia

GAIA CAPOGNA, Italy

LaPirata:
– Nodo Solidale, Mexico y Roma
– Nomads, Bologna y Berlin
– Collettivo Zapatista Lugano
– Adherentes Individuales

caracol mundo-eco de latido en solidaridad

Casa Nicaragua, Lieja, Bélgica

Grupo Cafez, Lieja, Bélgica

Les trois passants, Paris, Francia

Mut Vitz 13, Marseille, Francia

UK Zapatista Solidarity Network:

-Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group

-Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group

-Kiptik (Bristol)

-London Mexico Solidarity Group

-Manchester Zapatista Collective

-UK Education, Culture and Communication team

-UK Zapatista Translation Service

-Zapatista Solidarity Group – Essex

Carol M Byrne, Birmingham

Committee of the True Word for South-West England

Zap Sol UK

 

The video “Bachajón – Dispossession is death, Life is resistance.” Can be viewed on:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJkVziBk214

 

 

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Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, from the community of Virgen de Dolores, of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, who was assassinated with more than 20 high calibre bullets on 21st March, 2014.

im 018

Photo provided by relatives

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Update on the Two Weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives, the Bachajón struggle continues! which begins on April 24th, 2014

GOOD NEWS! THE WOMEN OF BACHAJÓN HAVE SENT A SPECIAL MESSAGE TO THE CAMPAIGN TO BE READ AT EVENTS!

To our sisters and brothers adherents to the Sexta of the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón:

To our compañer@s of the Sexta:

To our Zapatista sisters and brothers:

To the peoples of Mexico and the world:

To the independent, free and autonomous media:

To the Committees of the True Word throughout the world:

Compañeras and compañeros:

masde9Please receive many embraces from Movement for Justice in El Barrio, Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group, the Committee of the True Word from Kolkata, India and the Committee of the True Word from Alisal.

The Two Weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives, the Bachajón struggle continues! begins on April 24th, the anniversary of the assassination of our beloved compa Juan Vázquez Guzmán.

This initiative is supported by the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sexta. They say:

“On April 24th, the worldwide days for justice will begin for San Sebastian Bachajón and our fallen compañeros Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano…we will join these days with a political act…. on Saturday April 26th……We invite you to join the worldwide days to demand justice for our people, according to your own times and geographies.”

We also want to share with you the wonderful news that the dignified compañeras, the women of San Sebastián Bachajón, will send a special message to be shared at the events organised as part of the two weeks of action.

The response which the convocation in honor of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, and in support of San Sebastián Bachajón, has received from throughout the world has truly touched our hearts. Groups and collectives from countries including Mexico, South Africa, Greece, the US, India, Colombia, Canada, Gaza, Italy, England, Germany, Scotland and New Zealand have now confirmed their participation. Numerous activities will take place during the Two Weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives, The Bachajón struggle continues! from April 24th to May 8th 2014.

We are pleased to report that screenings of the video “Bachajón – Dispossession is death. Life is resistance.” have already been arranged in:

Many towns and cities in Mexico

India

South Africa

Canada

Colombia

Gaza

Germany

Greece

New Zealand

Many towns and cities in the UK

Many towns and cities in the US

We hope that more cities and countries will soon join this list.

We would like to thank these compas from different corners of the planet for joining the campaign in solidarity with the dignified struggle of our beloved compas from San Sebastián Bachajón, and to honor the memory of Juan Vázquez Guzmán.

If you have not yet confirmed your participation, we would ask you to do so as soon as possible by email to:

laotrany@yahoo.com

You can find more information in English including reports of the activities here:

 https://vivabachajon.wordpress.com/en-ingles/ . Information is available on this website in five languages.

You can find posters in English, Spanish, Italian, French and German to use in solidarity activities here:

https://vivabachajon.wordpress.com/carteles/

You can see the video “Bachajón – Dispossession is death. Life is resistance.” here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJkVziBk214

 

Juan Vázquez Guzmán, beloved compa, we embrace you.

You are the heart of your people, and you gave your life for your people.

Your life is like a seed of hope and rebellion that is growing in the hearts of every child, woman, man and old person from San Sebastian Bachajón and in the hearts of compañeras and compañeros from around the world. Your voice will not be silenced, nor will the work of your heart be ended.

Juan Vázquez Guzmán, beloved compa and brother, guardian of the land, the struggle continues.

Land, Freedom and Justice for the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No dispossession of indigenous territories!

With love and solidarity

Movement for Justice in El Barrio, Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group, the Committee of the True Word from Kolkata, India and the Committee of the True Word from Alisal

 

 

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International days for Justice for San Sebastian Bachajón are announced

The inhabitants ask for punishment for paramilitaries and a halt to the dispossession of their territory for purposes of tourism

Hermann Bellinghausen

La Jornada
Saturday April 19, 2014

Bachajon y Juan Ingles ChicoThe ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, in the municipality of Chilón in the northern zone of Chiapas, announced that international days for justice would be taking place for the struggle of their ejido, adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, which resists attempts by the government to dispossess them of part of their territory for tourism and road construction, without the consent of the inhabitants.

This April 24th marks the first anniversary of the cowardly political assassination of their leader Juan Vázquez Guzmán. The Tzeltal ejidatarios say that, “so that his memory may remain alive and continue to give us the strength to resist the repression and the policies of death of the bad government”, on that day the “worldwide days for justice for San Sebastian Bachajón and our fallen compañeros Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez   Silvano” will begin; the latter was killed with more than 20 bullets on March 21 in the outskirts of Chilón. Both crimes remain unpunished and there is no indication that the authorities have really investigated to find those responsible. It is simply a case of two executions carried out by professionals.

The international days are convened by the Movement for Justice in El Barrio, from New York, and solidarity groups in the United Kingdom and India. On the 26th a political act will be held at the headquarters of the independent organization of ejidatarios in Cumbre Nah Choj. The days will conclude on May 8th.

“Still there is no justice. There has been no effective investigation into the murder of Vázquez Guzmán, and his killers and those who ordered his execution remain safe in impunity. Meanwhile the efforts continue to dispossess Juan’s people, the ejidatarios adherents to the Sixth,” says the convocation.

“The three levels of government, with their army, their police, their allies in transnational corporations, their locally-funded paramilitary groups and their lackeys from the political parties, do not cease their attacks and their plundering, using deceptions and lies, threats, violence, imprisonment, torture and even murder to achieve their ambition to seize the ancestral common lands of the ejido in order to construct a luxury tourist complex beside the beautiful waterfalls of Agua Azul.”

With respect to the death of Gómez Silvano, who “worked in the construction of autonomy in the recuperated land of the community of Virgen de Dolores,” it also remains unpunished. The organisations convoking the two weeks of worldwide action state: “The ejidatarios will not give up their common lands, which they inherited from their grandparents, so they can be used for the building of hotels and golf courses, roads and helipads. They will not allow the mother earth and her richness of nature, jungle and water, to be destroyed by the greed and rapacity of those who would be lords of all.”

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/04/19/index.php?section=politica&article=018n1pol

 

 

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 FROM THE EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJON, ADHERENT TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 17th APRIL 2014

mujeres-bachajon-2-600x450-600x330

 

To the compañer@s adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international collectives and committees of solidarity

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world

 

Compañeros and compañeras in struggle, next Thursday April 24th marks a year since the cowardly political assassination of our compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán; we will start this day praying with his family for the eternal rest of our compañero who is already in the arms of our mother earth, so that his memory may remain alive and continue to give us the strength to resist the repression and the policies of death of the bad government.

On this day, April 24th, the worldwide days for justice will be launched for San Sebastian Bachajón and our fallen compañeros Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, convoked by the Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York; we will join these days with a political act which we will make in honor of our compañeros Juan Vázquez and Juan Carlos Gómez on Saturday April 26th from 10am, hour of God, in the headquarters of the organization in Cumbre Nah Choj.

We invite you to join us in this political act on April 26th and to join, according to your times and geographies, the worldwide days to demand justice for our people.

From the north of Chiapas receive a combative embrace.

Never again a Mexico without us

Attentively

Land and Freedom!

Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No dispossession of indigenous territories!

 

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Life and death, land and resistance

by Jessica Davies | 17 April, 2014

San Sebastián Bachajón on the anniversary of the assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán

Bachajon y Juan Ingles ChicoLast year, Peace News featured the story of the assassination in Chiapas, Mexico, of the community leader and defender of the land, Juan Vázquez Guzmán. In recognition of the first anniversary of his killing, ‘Two Weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives! The Bachajón struggle continues!’, have been called, from Thursday 24 April to Thursday 8 May. As part of this initiative, the screening of the film Bachajón – Dispossession is death, Life is resistance is being promoted internationally.

‘What the government does is send people to jail or order their killing like Juan Vázquez Guzmán. Our struggle is not for economic or political power. It is for the people, the mother earth and the territory.’ – Marcelo Mariano López

On 24 April 2013, Juan Vázquez Guzmán, much-loved spokesperson and activist in defence of the people, the land and the territory of the ejido(communal landholding) of San Sebastián Bachajón, was killed with six gunshots in the doorway of his home, in what was widely interpreted as a political assassination. His killers, and those who ordered his killing, remain unpunished, and the plans of the government and corporations to dispossess the ejidatarios (common landholders) of their territory, in order to construct a luxury tourist development, continue. But the indigenous Tzeltal community of San Sebastián Bachajón is staying organized, carrying on the struggle for their rights and keeping alive the memory of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and his work in the service of his people.

The struggle for the land

IMG_3289Founded in 1980 by the original Tzeltal inhabitants, the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón is situated in the municipality of Chilón, in Chiapas, south-east Mexico. It is, at 70,000 hectares, one of the largest ejidos in the country, in an area of great biodiversity and natural beauty. The land is rich in natural resources, verdant jungle, wildlife and water. The spectacular waterfalls of Agua Azul, renowned for the turquoise colour of their water at certain times of year, crash and thunder in the neighbouring municipality of Tumbalá, but to gain access to the ‘Ecotourism Centre’ which has been set up there it is necessary to cross through the ejido of Bachajón, which is why an intense conflict has arisen.

As part of the Plan Mesoamerica, the Mexican government, in consultation with transnational corporations has drawn up plans for a network of infrastructure and services to promote an elite tourism, which will require the displacement of the indigenous population. The focus of this development will be the waterfalls, with very expensive luxury hotels and golf courses accessed by helicopter.

Much of the land worked by the ejidatarios was recuperated from large ranchers and landowners in 1994. To the indigenous peoples land is everything – it is the mother earth which gives them life and feeds them, it is their ancestors, their history, their culture, their honour, their identity. The attempts over the last eight years to strip them of their communally owned and worked territory have been relentless, marked by threats, violence, terror, imprisonment, torture, paramilitary activity, and a constant police and military presence.

History of resistance

AGUAZUL190612MZS9-391x260‘The Tzeltales are a combative people’, says their lawyer, ‘they have always defended and sought to keep control of their territory.’ On 19 March 2007, many of the ejidatarios of San Sebastian Bachajón declared themselves adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, an initiative promoted by the Zapatistas. Following this decision, the adherents decided to exert their right as original peoples to free determination over their land and its resources, and erected a tollbooth in their territory where tourists would pay to visit the Agua Azul waterfalls. It was decided in their assembly what to do with the money raised. Mainly, they say, it was used for the sick, and to support families in need, but this money was not just used for the adherents to the Sixth Declaration, it was available to every member of the community who was experiencing hard times.

The tollbooth became a focal point for the conflict. There was a violent eviction in 2009. The booth was reclaimed, but on 2 February 2011, in a huge operation, police and armed political party supporters again evicted the ejidatarios and 117 people were arrested. At this time, the authorities and government supporters not only took over control of the tollbooth, they also illegally seized 2,590 square metres of the communally owned lands.

It is in this context that the political murder of Juan Vázquez Guzmán must be set. Active in the defence of the land and territory of Bachajón since 2006, on April 18, 2010, he was made Secretary General of the three centres of the ejido. ‘People sought him out a lot for his skills and abilities to relate to the world of the Caxlanes(white people, non-indigenous),’ according to their lawyer, ‘to defend and translate the problems of the indigenous communities and to put them on the table of the authorities’.

A second assassination

On 21 March 2014, Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, a regional coordinator for the Sixth in Bachajón, was ambushed and killed with over twenty gunshots. At the time of his death he was travelling to his community of Virgen de Dolores, which, along with the community of Nah Choj, was founded by the adherents to the Sixth Declaration in 2010. Juan Carlos had been one of the community’s founders, and had worked there since in the construction of autonomy.

The ejidatarios describe the recuperation of the lands of Virgen de Dolores. ‘On 31 December 2009 we “entered” the land. It was in the hands of the Caxlanes, but it really belonged to our ancestors, we as their children decided to recover these lands. The foreigners were not working the land – they were not growing crops, just using it for livestock. Now we grow all our food, we even have some to sell. We work with the machete, we grow corn, plant coffee, yams, squash, banana. We put together food parcels for those in need. The land is like our mother, we live from it, we eat from it, we die on it and then we remain in it.’

Context

Bachajón’s lawyer explains that the strategies are the same throughout Mexico. ‘With repression and impunity, the state is seeking a way to establish dispossession and privatization of indigenous territories to ensure that land is handed over for the implementation of megaprojects, designed by international private corporations or organizations.’

recently-released report by Global Witness reveals a surge in the killing of activists protecting land rights and the environment over the past decade, with nearly three times as many deaths in 2012 as there were ten years previously. The death rate has risen in the past four years to an average of two activists a week.

This report highlights what has become a campaign of terror against defenders of territory, using incarceration and assassination as its weapons. The government, say the ejidatarios of San Sebastian Bachajón: ‘uses public forces, such as the state preventive police, the army and the federal police to terrorize communities and so imposes terror to achieve its goals.’

Juan Vázquez Guzmán – where they sow fear, they also sow resistance

ManifiestandoseIn the film promoted by the campaign, the ejidatario Domingo Pérez explains that, for the people of San Sebastián Bachajón, Juan is not dead, he still lives with them in the struggle for land, territory, freedom and justice. They can never forget him or give up the struggle because he is struggling beside them. ‘What will we show to our children’s children?’

In the words of Juan’s community: ‘We are not alone and as children of the earth our roots are still alive in spite of all the death they offer us. Juan Vázquez Guzmán, you are the heart of the people, you live in every child, woman and man who defends the people and struggles for justice. You told us that the land the mountains and the waterfalls belong to those who take care of them, that is why you defended and gave your life for the mother earth. You will live for ever among your people.’

More info: The ‘Two Weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives! The Bachajón struggle continues!’ from Thursday 24 April to Thursday 8 May 2014, follows a very successful week of action held last year, and intends to draw attention to the struggle of the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, and honour the living memory of Juan Vázquez Guzmán. Movement for Justice in El Barrio, Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group, the Committee of the True Word from Kolkata, India and the Committee of the True Word from Alisal are calling for solidarity actions, especially the organising of screenings of the short film Bachajón – Dispossession is death, Life is resistance (Spanish; English subtitles available by clicking on the Captions panel at the bottom of the video screen). Another (23-minute) film with English subtitles can be found here. For further information in English, please see Viva Bachajon and Dorset Chiapas

This article was published in Peace News, 17 April, 2014: http://peacenews.info/blog/7653/life-and-death-land-and-resistance

 

 

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Convocation for the

“Two Weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives!

The Bachajón struggle continues!”

From Thursday, April 24th to Thursday, May 8th, 2014

bachajon circulo_Mesa de trabajo 26 copia 6 English round large

To our sisters and brothers of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón:

To our compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle:

To our Zapatista sisters and brothers:

To the people of Mexico and the world:

To the independent media:

To the Committees of the True Word:

Movement for Justice in El Barrio, Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group, the Committee of the True Word from Kolkata, India and the Committee of the True Word from Alisal propose that we join together our hands, our voices and our struggles to carry out the

“Two Weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives! The Bachajón struggle continues!” from Thursday, April 24th to Thursday, May 8th, 2014

This initiative is supported by the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth.

Compañeras and Compañeros:

We send you greetings and embraces from New York, Dorset, Kolkata and Alisal.

On April 24th, 2014, it will be a year since the cruel and cowardly assassination of our beloved compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán, activist, community leader and spokesperson for the indigenous Tzeltal community of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, in the municipality of Chilón, Chiapas, Mexico. He was killed by six gunshots in the doorway of his home.

Still there is no justice. There has been no effective investigation into Juan’s murder, and his killers and those who ordered his execution remain safe in impunity. Meanwhile the efforts continue to dispossess Juan’s people, the ejidatarios adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón.

The three levels of government, with their army, their police, their allies in transnational corporations, their locally-funded paramilitary groups and their lackeys from the political parties, do not cease their attacks and their plundering, using deceptions and lies, threats, violence, imprisonment, torture and even murder to achieve their ambition to seize the ancestral common lands of the ejido in order to construct a luxury tourist complex beside the beautiful waterfalls of Agua Azul.

Now there has been a second assassination, another vile attempt to force our compañer@s to give up their just and dignified struggle and resistance.  On March 21st, 2014, Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, aged only 22, was shot down with over twenty bullets. Juan Carlos worked in the construction of autonomy in the recuperated land of the community of Virgen de Dolores. He was a regional coordinator of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón. No one has been arrested or charged with his murder. We respond with sorrow, but also with rage.

We demand justice! The killers must not remain unpunished! No more impunity!

Compañeras and Compañeros,

Although the war against the people does not end, neither does the resistance of those from below.

Despite the continuing racist repression directed against the original people of these lands, despite displacement and occupation, aggression and murder, the tireless struggle of the indigenous Tzeltal people of Bachajón to defend the basis of their life, the mother earth, the land and the territory, also has no end.

The ejidatarios will not give up their common lands, which they inherited from their grandparents, so they can be used for the building of hotels and golf courses, roads and helipads. They will not allow the mother earth and her richness of nature, jungle and water, to be destroyed by the greed and rapacity of those who would be lords of all.

For our sisters and brothers in struggle from San Sebastián Bachajón, Juan Vázquez Guzmán still lives, he is still there beside them, fighting, so they can never give up their resistance. He often told them that their struggle was “for the life of the people and to continue being what we are”.

Juan Vázquez Guzmán denounced repression and corruption everywhere, and he fought for the rights of his people and for the liberation of their prisoners. On a national and international level he made people aware of the threat to the lands of Bachajón from those from above and their plans to build an “eco” tourist megaproject.

His words had strength and his vision and heart were free from fear in the struggle for the defense of the territory. We remember his warm smile, his contagious laughter, his love for the land and the people and his commitment to the creation of another world.

But the capitalists, the governments and the corporations, in their greed for more money, more plunder, more profit, plan to destroy the whole of the mother earth, and to rip out the heart of the planet. They want to turn the water, the trees, the earth, the air into commodities. It is only the organized resistance of the autonomous communities, from below and to the left, against the wars and the destruction of our natural resources, which can save the mother earth for our children.

Compañeras and Compañeros,

We call on all people of good heart and all the children of the earth who strive, day after day, to construct another, better, world, one with freedom, justice, respect and dignity, each according to their own customs, ways, times, and geographies:

1.     To carry out the “Two Weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives! The Bachajón struggle continues!” from Thursday, April 24th to Thursday, May 8th, 2014

2.     To show our solidarity with the just and dignified struggle against dispossession of the women, men, children and elderly of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón

3.     To screen the film Bachajón – Dispossession is death, Life is resistance, available in Spanish and with English subtitles, in as many countries and places and as many times as possible:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJkVziBk214

4.     To keep alive the memory of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and to commemorate  the anniversary of his savage assassination on April 24th, 2014, along with his compas, who here invite us to join them:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqvq9SSiGrw

5.     To organize any other solidarity activities that you may choose, in your own places and according to your own different methods of struggle

We ask you to please let us know as soon as possible if you are able to accept our proposal and if you will be able to participate in the “Two Weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives! The Bachajón struggle continues!” from Thursday, April 24th to Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Please confirm your participation by email to: laotrany@yahoo.com

Juan Vázquez Guzmán, beloved compa, we embrace you. We will always be thankful to you for having given so much inspiration to each of us in our own struggles.

You are the heart of your people, and you gave your life for your people.

Your life is like a seed of hope that is growing in the hearts of every child, woman, man and old person from San Sebastián Bachajón and in the hearts of compañeras and compañeros from around the world.

We believe that everyone should know of your dignified life and the dignified resistance of your people.

We demand a full investigation of your assassination, and punishment of those responsible.

Your voice will not be silenced, nor will the work of your heart be ended.

Juan Vázquez Guzmán, beloved compa and brother, guardian of the land, the struggle continues.

 

Land, Freedom and Justice for the Ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón!

Stop the aggressions against the adherents to the Sexta!

No more impunity!

No more forgetting!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives!

The Bachajón struggle continues!

 

With love and solidarity,

Movement for Justice in El Barrio, Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group, the
Committee of the True Word from Kolkata, India and the Committee of the
True Word from Alisal

 

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From Europe: Juan Carlos Gómez and Juan Vázquez Guzmán live!

To our compas Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano,

and to Juan Vázquez Guzmán and to their families

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To the compañer@s adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

Compañeros and compañeras:

1009997_138037363033306_2091462268_nWhen we receive the news that our compañer@s have been murdered, we always  remember the phrase that goes, “Dying does not hurt, what hurts is forgetting.”

Today we say to our compañeros Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano and Juan Vázquez Guzmán that we will never forget them, nor will we forget the tireless struggle of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón.

Rage returned to flood our hearts, on Friday March 21, when Juan Carlos, who had lived only 22 years, was assassinated, killed for his rebellion, for his capacity as regional coordinator of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, killed for being a compañero, who, like many other compas from Bachajón, will not give up.

This murder carries with it the names of the governors who continue to harass and plunder in order to take over the land that never was, nor will be, theirs, this murder carries with it the name of the Municipal President of Chilón, Leonardo Guirao Aguilar, member of the Green Ecologist party and one of the authors of the dispossession of lands by financing the arms of the armed group of Carmen Aguilar Gómez the Elder, Juan Alvaro Gómez and Manuel Jiménez, responsible for the eviction of the toll booth in February 2011. This murder, like the persecution, imprisonment and repression, carries with it the names of Manuel Velasco Coello and Enrique Peña Nieto.

And as the compas say in their communiqué: “like our compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán said, our struggle is for the life of our people and because we want to continue to be what we are.”

We, collectives, groups, organizations, we do not forget, and from our different geographies we extend not only our condolences, it is true that we grieve, but also the rage that impels us to organization, the pain which will not break us, the pain which leads us inevitably to continue standing in struggle for the world we want, for the freedom we long for, for the dreams we continue to aspire to achieve one day.

For our dead!

Against forgetting!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano lives!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives!

Not to the dispossession of territories!

Freedom for Political prisoners!

The Bachajón Struggle continues!

In solidarity

Signatures:

Les trois passants,París,Francia
La Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT) Estado español
Caracol Solidario, Besançon, Francia
Gruppe B.A.S.T.A., Münster, Alemania.
LaPirata compuesto por:
-Colectivo Zapatista Marisol, Lugano
-Nodo Solidale, Roma y México
-Nomads, Bologna y Berlín
-Adherentes individuales
Caracol Zaragoza, Estado español
Asociación Ya Basta! Milano, Italia
Centro de Documentación sobre Zapatismo -CEDOZ- Estado español
ASSI (Acción Social Sindical Internacionalista)
Plataforma de Solidaridad con Chiapas de Aragón
UK Zapatista Solidarity Network
Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group
Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group
Kiptik (Bristol)
London Mexico Solidarity Group
Manchester Zapatista Collective
UK Zapatista Translation Service
Zapatista Solidarity Group – Essex
Committee of the True Word for South-West England
Union syndicale Solidaires, Francia
Fédération SUD éducation, Francia
red YA-BASTA-NETZ, Alemania
YA BASTA RheinMain, Alemania
¡Alerta! – Lateinamerika Gruppe Düsseldorf, Alemania
Plataforma de Solidaridad con Chiapas y Guatemala de Madrid
Comite de Solidaridad con los Pueblos de Chiapas en Lucha, CSPCL

 

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Juan Vázquez Lives. Invitation to Commemoration

A year after the death of our compañero Juan, adherent to the sixth declaration of the Lacandon jungle, we invite media and society in general to a political event on the 26th April 2014 in cumbre Na’choj to remember our compañero.

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Bachajón: Death and life in the waterfalls of Agua Azul

The ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, explain the interests which exist behind the waterfalls of Agua Azul and the region around them.

Por: Alfonso Flores

Water of Life

Squash and chayote, sapodilla and beans, citrus fruits and corn grow around the waterfalls of Agua Azul. Boas, ocelots and jaguars, tapirs and toucans live around the waterfalls of Agua Azul. Also, men and women, indigenous peoples, mainly Tzeltal, belong to the waterfalls of Agua Azul.

The ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle – a political initiative of the EZLN in 2005 – explain that there are great interests in the Waterfalls and the region around them. All of which they call their “mother earth.”

“It is the richest part of the State of Chiapas,” says Domingo Perez, a resident of Bachajón. “There is everything: oil, gold … that is why the government has its sights on this area.”

Protected Forest Area, Wildlife Refuge and Special Biosphere Reserve (according to a presidential decree of April 29, 1980), the Agua Azul waterfalls are unmistakable due to the light colour of their water caused by constantly falling on limestone.

 

Agua Azul Waterfalls

Agua Azul Waterfalls

The whole area (the waterfalls of Agua Azul, the Lacandón Jungle, the beaches of Catazajá, the waterfalls of Misol Ha and Palenque) falls within the tourism plans of the government headed by Manuel Velasco. All this is proposed in the CIPP (Palenque Integrally Planned Centre), in which there are plans for the construction of Palenque Airport and the San Cristobal -Palenque highway (which directly affects the Tzotzil communities of Mitzitón and Ejido Los Llanos). Also the uncontrolled growth envisages hotel Agua-azul1developments for the municipalities of Catazajá, Chilón, Ocosingo, Salto del Agua, Palenque and Tumbalá.

“The government will build hotels here, golf courses,” says Domingo, “… our thinking is that later on, as indigenous, we will not have access. It will be tourists, though not just any tourists, only those who have a lot of money, and the hotel owners who have this.”

 

Bachajón. Dispossession is death. Life is resistance.

Watch on YouTube for English subtitles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJkVziBk214

 

 On February 12 Velasco and Peña Nieto inaugurated Palenque airport, which became operational on March 13. According to a note in Proceso magazine, entitled Yesterday in Palenque the EMP threw out petitions from indigenous to EPN, indigenous inhabitants wanted to deliver petitions to the governors, but they were ignored.

The ejidatarios of Bachajón who we spoke with do not consider it necessary to build large tourist complexes. They explain that people come anyway to the waterfalls and ruins and to visit the rivers, especially the Tulijá where sport is practiced and crafts are sold.

They ask for nothing from the government, most of them do not receive support from government programmes. They have their cornfield, which they harvest twice a year. They plant it, clean it and at the right time bend the stalks and begin to pick it to take home and keep.

“Here it rains all year round. We do not burn, it is natural pasture which stays as fertilizer,” says Jerónimo Aguilar,” so we work here on the Mother Earth.”

“Everything is beautiful, this is why the government likes it: because there is water, there is forest, there are beautiful stones, so the government wants it, so it interests them very much, because everything here is natural. Wherever you go they want it,” accuses the ejidatario Ediberto Guzmán.

“This is the reason for this struggle, because if they harm the birds, the animals, there will be nowhere to live,” says Domingo, “the wind that blows through is natural. It is not contaminated. With this construction pollution, machinery will come.”

“We defend it as indigenous and so they want to remove us and take us elsewhere. The indigenous are accustomed to living on their land, where their grandparents lived.”

History of death

In 2011, 117 prisoners were all taken at the same time to the Prosecutor in Palenque. They had already arrested four, accused of assault and robbery with violence. Ten out of the 117 remained in the prison at Catazajá beaches. Five months later the last five were released.

The adherents to the Sixth from Bachajón have had, during their movement, about 150 prisoners. And two assassinations.

The ejido of Bachajón is the largest in Chiapas. It was founded in 1980, and belongs to the municipality of Chilón. You have to cross it to reach the municipality of Tumbalá, where the waterfalls are situated.

“Our grandparents legalized the ejido with a file and a certificate of land rights, but the officialists gave the the ejido to the government,” saysDomingo.

The Sixth of Bachajón was born on March 19, 2007 with the confirmation of alternative authorities to those chosen by the then ejidatarios, who were close to the political parties. Today the same situation continues, and the Agrarian Prosecutor from Ocosingo considers as authorities Pedro Álvaro Hernández and Pascual Pérez Álvaro, as ejidal commissioner and security commissioner respectively. Both are close to the official government, according to the adherents of the Sixth.

Later that same year [2007], the adherents decided to put a tollbooth in their territory where tourists would pay to visit the Agua Azul waterfalls. It was decided in assembly what to do with the money. Mainly, they say, it was used for the sick, and to support families in need.

In 2009 they were evicted; they reclaimed the booth, but on February 2, 2011, they were thrown out, violently, by police and shock groups affiliated to political parties.

On 24th April 2013, they murdered Juan Vázquez Guzmán, an activist and farmer who in 2010 was the Secretary General of the Sixth in Bachajón; when more than a hundred people were imprisoned, he visited them all in the different prisons.

On December 24, 2011, Juan Vázquez was arrested without a warrant by the local police of Chilón at the request of then Ejidal Commissioner Francisco Guzman Jiménez, and taken to the state prison in Ocosingo, Chiapas. Hours later he was released. On March 22, 2012, he was threatened with death by the same ejidal commissioner.

Among the prisoners he visited were Antonio Estrada Estrada and Miguel Demeza Jiménez, both unjustly detained and tortured by the police to force them to plead guilty, with sentences of two years four months and three years two months (respectively); their people conducted ​​an intensive campaign to free them similar to the campaign for the liberation of the indigenous Tzotzil professor Alberto Patishtan.

On March 21, Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano was killed with over twenty gunshots. He was travelling to the community of Virgen de Dolores, founded by the adherents to the Sixth in 2010. Juan Carlos served as regional coordinator for the Sixth in Bachajón, a position which Juan Vázquez Guzmán previously occupied.

Next to the tomb of Juan Vázquez (June 25, 1980 – April 24, 2013) is a smaller tomb. It is that of his nephew, who died at the age of ten months.

Death in Chiapas has different forms: the infant mortality rate is 75 per thousand children, it is the state with the second most malnutrition in the country, 71% of the indigenous population suffers from this; the state lives in a crisis of justice, its prisons hold prisoners who are innocent of the crime they are accused of – as in the case of the Tzotzil Alejandro Diaz Sántiz, also an adherent to the Sixth -; badly planned mining and tourism projects affect the environment and communities; the army (in Xanil) and groups affiliated to political parties  who are responsible for violent attacks maintain a constant presence.

“What the government does is send people to jail or order their killing like Juan Vázquez Guzmán,” says Marcelo Mariano López, also an ejidatario, “Our struggle is not for economic or political power. It is for the people, the mother earth and the territory.”

A seed which sprouts

Juan Vázquez’s tomb is surrounded by lime, orange and tangerine trees. In his room there are photos of him with Bishop Raúl Vera in the Fray Bartomolé de las Casas Human Rights Centre. Everyone speaks of Juan in the present tense. “Juan loves his people”, “Juan is a farmer,” as if Juan is still alive.

“Juan for us is a seed which sprouts,” says Domingo; “we are never going to lose the fight because if we did, what would be the point of all the time that Juan spent in front of the people. Juan lives, so the Bachajón struggle continues”.

Antonio Estrada Estrada, recently liberated – in December 2013 – is sitting with his son, surrounded by his father, mother and brothers. He shows a corn cob and smiles. The marks of torture he suffered during his arrest show on his face.

IMG_3454

Antonio Estrada Estrada

“Very happy because of being with your family. Being free to run and walk wherever you want.” 

He is 26, but says: “I’ll keep fighting, I will carry on until I die, I will continue to defend what is ours, what belonged to our grandparents: the territory.”

 

Foto: Alfonso Flores

Antonio (right) with his father

Miguel Demeza, who was also released in December, says:

“We are indigenous. We work in the fields and we have the right to participate in an organization and to defend our land, but the government does not like this. It was not just to serve a prison sentence for something I never committed. I will continue to fight against the injustice which exists in the state of Chiapas. The injustice which exists in my community.”

 

Miguel-Demeza-2

Miguel in the office on reclaimed land

He says all this while being interviewed in the office of the adherents to the Sixth which they call Nah Choj (where the tiger lives). It is on land reclaimed since 1994. Today they have a popular communication project, workshops and a committee of Human Rights, and a gravel pit called Nah Chawuk (where the lightning lives). Men watch the clouds and children play football on the patio of their offices. There is a painting of Zapata on the wall and the women prepare tostadas. On the wall there is a poster with a blue waterfall. Next to it, the face of Juan Vázquez Guzmán.

IMG_3297

Sign in the gravel quarry

 

 Text: Aldabi Olvera. Photos: Eduardo Velasco, Alfonso Flores, Ignacio Martínez and Erika Lozano. Video: Eduardo Velasco.

http://www.masde131.com/2014/03/de-muerte-y-vida-en-las-cascadas-de-agua-azul/

 

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Tzeltales of Bachajón, against the co-optation of ejido authorities


Ejido members defending their territory seek the removal of the official authorities, who are playing dirty tricks in order to hand over land to tourism megaprojects

Ricardo Lagunes Gasca

Desinformémonos, 23 March, 2014
IMG_3667Mexico. “The bad government wants to finish us off completely, they are killing our friends”, denounce the ejido members of San Sebastan Bachajón. Juan Carlos Gomez Silvano, regional coordinator of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle for the San Sebastian Bachajón ejido, was assassinated, hit by more than 20 high-power gunshots. The Chiapas state authorities are seeking to downplay his murder as an act of inter-community conflict, but what is really happening in Bachajón is a struggle for the defence of the land worked by the ejido members who support the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, against the government supporters’ plans for the implementation of large-scale tourism projects.

In January and March of 2014, the supporters of the Sixth Declaration publicly denounced the fact that the commissioner Alejandro Moreno and security agent Samuel Díaz are seeking to obtain – using deception – a copy of the certificates of agricultural rights of the ejido members, supposedly with the intention to develop a government coffee project, when in reality these documents will be used to fake support for an Act of the General Assembly of Ejido Members, in which the annulment of the amparo (injunction) 274/2011 of the Seventh District Court in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas (the result of a case brought by the adherents of the Sixth Declaration in March 2011 for defence of their territory), will be requested.
Since 2012, these ejido members have independently taken responsibility for the defence of their territory, demanding justice for the assassination of several of their ejido authorities, and the release of the political prisoners who come from the area.

In response to this fraudulent act on the part of the official ejido authorities, on the 5th of February of 2014, the supporters of the Sixth Declaration demanded, before the Unitary Agricultural Tribunal in Comitán, the annulment of the appointment of the commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gomez, and the remaining members of the official board, for their failure to act in accordance with the Agrarian Law and the usos y costumbres (traditional laws) of the community. They also requested the surrender of accounts and the balance sheets of income and expenditure of ex-ejido commissioner Francisco Guzmán Jiménez for the period 2010-2013. The demand was upheld by the Agrarian Trbunal and a date was set for the 25th of March, 2014 for an appearance before the Audience of Law, which the community authorities involved will be obliged to attend.

With repression and impunity, the State is seeking a way to establish dispossession and privatization of indigenous territories. This strategy of physical and psychological violence is also accompanied by the usual social anti-poverty programs, used to divide the population and disincentivise community organization – combined with the co-optation of community authorities, who ensure that land is handed over for the implementation of large-scale projects, designed by international private corporations or organizations.

This is an integral part of the strategy of dispossession of indigenous peoples. It is for this reason that the State seeks to distract public opinion from the fundamental issue, which is the repossession of land and natural resources, reducing all local violence associated with this process to mere intra/intercommunity conflict.

Juan Vázquez, living memory

This April will mark the one-year anniversary of the politically-motivated murder of the community leader, and human rights advocate, Juan Vazquez Guzman, his life stolen from him by firearm shots on the night of the 24th of April, 2013, in the Bachajón village, in the municipality of Chilón, Chiapas, while he was resting inside his house, with his two sons, both minors.

Juan Vázquez Guzmán struggled tirelessly to defend the dignity of his people, and he denounced at both a national and international level the government corruption that sought the appropriation, whatever the cost, of the lands of the San Sebastian Bachajón ejido. This would allow state and private interests to acquire greater political and social control, so that they might be able to implement, without opposition, the tourism megaproject in the neighbouring village of Agua Azul, in the municipality of Tumbalá.

Until now, the legal proceedings launched by the State that were charged with shedding light on the murder of Juan Vázquez Guzmán have only managed to ensure impunity for the crime. An unequivocal sign of this is the lack of progress in the investigations, and the underlying fact that the entity responsible for them, the District Attorney for Indigenous Justice in Bachajón, lacks even the most basic resources necessary to carry out a serious, exhaustive investigation.

Despite the displacement currently occurring under police and military occupation, and the murder and incarceration of their members, the Tzeltales of the San Sebastian Bachajón ejido – supporters of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle – are staying organized, willing to continue struggling for their rights and to maintain alive the memory of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, as a true act of justice and symbol of the value of their work at the service of the people.

In September 2013, the Tzeltales presented an example of this, in founding the Nah Chawuk gravel bank on their territory, with the objective to break with the monopoly of the principal gravel bank of the San Sebastian Bachajón ejido, which is administrated by the official ejido authorities – who do not permit fair and equitable access to natural resources to the ejido members, instead providing exclusive access for private businesses and particular interests.

After the founding of Nah Chawuk, the supporters of the Sixth Declaration suffered threats of displacement from the official ejido commissioner, Alejandro Moreno Gómez, and from the head of security Samuel Diaz Guzmán. This pair, unbeknownst to the General Assembly of Ejido Workers, tried to encourage their displacement by groups aligned to the Green Ecological Party and the Institutional Revolutionary Party. This is the same modus operandi used by the ex-ejido commissioner Francisco Guzmán Jiménez during the events of the 2nd of February, 2011, when a violent displacement took place from the common lands through which the path to the Agua Azul Waterfalls Ecotourism Centre traverses. This time, the threat of displacement failed to achieve its goal, and the adherents of the Sixth Declaration maintain the gravel bank under their protection.

In December 2013, the adherents of the Sixth Declaration from San Sebastian Bachajón won the release of Miguel Demeza Jiménez and Antonio Estrada Estrada, unjustly held prisoner since October, 2010, and August, 2011, respectively.

Miguel Demeza regained his liberty outright; nonetheless, Antonio Estrada continues to be subject to a federal penal process before the Sixth District Court of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, despite the fact that the evidence with which he was accused was declared inadmissable by the Third Collegiate Tribunal of the Twentieth Circuit on resolving his lawsuit 915/2013. Until his legal situation is resolved, Antonio has to travel every fifteen days from his community to the city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez to sign a control register for defendants.

The Tzeltal Bachajón adherents of the Sixth Declaration recognise that the release of Miguel and Antonio is the fruit of the struggle of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and that of national and international solidarity, who were a watchful presence throughout his incarceration.
Faced with this situation, the Tzeltales of San Sebastián Bachajón who support the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle continue to stand out as an example of dignity and resistance.  Continuously, they are confronted firsthand with the imposition of the whims of capitalism, as the the veil over the economic and political interests provoking community conflict for the sole purpose of appropriating land is removed.

 

Translated by Andrew Green

http://desinformemonos.org/2014/03/tseltales-de-bachajon-contra-la-cooptacion-de-autoridades-ejidales/
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Communiqué from the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón on the assassination of Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano

FROM THE EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJON, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO,                      23 MARCH 2014

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world

69594_137471423089900_539397097_nCompañeros and compañeras in struggle, on Friday March 21, 2014, at around 9 am, our compañero Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano was ambushed and cruelly assassinated with over twenty shots from a high calibre firearm, while he was driving his small truck with passenger seats up to the San José Chapapuyil crossroads in the direction of the Autonomous Community Virgen de Dolores, founded by our organization in 2010.

At the time of his murder, Juan Carlos was 22 years old, held the post of regional Coordinator of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle for the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón and was the father of a baby aged six months.

Municipal police from Chilón and preventive state police arrived at the crime scene and began taking photos and video of the body of our compañero without respect for the deceased and his family. The public ministry of Chilón said the body of our compañero would be taken away for an autopsy, but we did not allow it, because this is our custom, and we took him to rest at Virgen de Dolores community so we could pray for him.

Since we founded the communities of Nah Choj and Virgen de Dolores in 2010, our organization has been harassed at various times by the army and state preventive police, threatening us with eviction because of pressures from those who say they are the owners of the property, among them a former municipal president of Chilón, fomenting division and buying the consciences of some ex compañeros with their crumbs, like they did with Carmen Aguilar Gómez and his son of the same name who, when he sold out to Noé Castañón León, the Secretary of Government of Juan Sabines Guerrero, organized for the eviction of our ticket booth on February 2, 2011 and dispossessed us of our lands in complicity with the ex ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón Francisco Guzmán Jiménez (alias el goyito).

The bad government wants to finish us off completely by assassinating our compañeros, like they did with Juan Vázquez Guzmán on April 24, 2013, using their paramilitary gunmen, who with complete impunity, whether by night or in the full light of day, are capable of vilely murdering our compañeros who are working and struggling to construct a world in which other worlds fit, and who are daily resisting the attacks of the capitalist system which wants to make us disappear so they can take over our mother earth, water, rivers, waterfalls and all that will serve to make them more money at the cost of our lives and suffering.

The real criminals, assassins and corrupt ones are the party politicians who, despite reaching their position through fraud and buying votes, consider that they are the owners of all that exists in our lands. Every day they want to get richer and it doesn’t matter how many indigenous they have to kill to achieve this. Like the current mayor of Chilón, Leonardo Guirao Aguilar, a member of the Green Ecologist Party, and one of the authors of the dispossession of our lands, because he financed the weapons of the group led by Carmen Aguilar Gómez the elder, Juan Alvaro Gómez and Manuel Jiménez who evicted our compañeros from the ticket booth in February 2011.

Our organization has had the dignity to continue standing in struggle and defending our people although we have had many compañeros imprisoned or murdered; we are not afraid because we are on the path that our grandparents followed, our ancestors have given us the wisdom to read the signs of life and of the times; the bad governments come and go, but we the peoples who have resisted are still standing here in struggle and will continue whatever the cost.

One day our compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán told us well that our struggle is for the life of our people and because we want to continue being what we are. A few weeks before the first anniversary of the assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, the bad government sends its killers to hurt the Virgen de Dolores community; it was born with great effort and sacrifice, and now the cornfields and the fruits of the good mother earth grow there to feed our children. Compañero Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano is part of the foundation and construction of autonomy in the Virgen de Dolores community, his participation and his work for the organization and the community will never be forgotten because we carry it in our hearts.

Manuel Velasco Coello and Enrique Peña Nieto are wrong if they think that they are going to finish us off with violence and repression, our organization is ready to resist and to continue building the autonomy which has been denied in law and in action to the indigenous communities.

We salute all the expressions of solidarity and support for our struggle from organizations nationally and internationally. The men and women of San Sebastián Bachajón want to say that we are also aware of your word and your struggle, from our geography we have our fists raised in solidarity with you.

From the northern zone of Chiapas, receive a combative embrace.

Never again a Mexico without us

Attentively

Land and Freedom!

Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vazquez Guzman Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

 

 

 

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Message of Support to the Ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón

 

To the family of Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano

To the Ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón

To our comrades and adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle
To members of the mass and alternative media
To the Good Government
To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation
To the National Indigenous Congress
To the Network against Repression and for Solidarity
To the Movement of Justice for the District of New York
To the defenders of national and international human rights
To the people of Mexico and the world

bachajon-fila-391x293Even at the bottom of the world in New Zealand we have heard the terrible news of the shooting death of our comrade Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano on Friday March 21, 2014 after he was ambushed at the San Jose Chapapuyil crossroad while driving his truck towards the Autonomous Community of Virgen de Dolores, of which he was a founder.

We know that at the time of his murder, Juan Carlos was 22 years old, held the post of Regional Coordinator for the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón for the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, and was the father of a six month old baby.

We in New Zealand deplore this cold-blooded assassination, and note that it is yet another example of the sustained campaign of harrassment and murder waged by the army and state preventive police in collusion with corrupt ejido officials Alejandro Moreno Gómez and Samuel Diaz Guzman, and ex-Ejido Commissioner Francisco Guzman Jimenez against the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón, designed to create division within the community and drive the ejido members of the Sixth from their lands.

Two more examples of the growing list of crimes against them are the eviction from their toll booth on February 2, 2011 and the murder of Juan Vázquez Guzmán on April 24, 2013.

We express our deepest sympathy and condolences to the family of Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, and raise our fists in solidarity with the men and women of San Sebastián Bachajón and their struggle.

Receive an ‘abrazo combativo’ from us at the bottom of the world.

Sincerely

Wellington Zapatista Support Group, New Zealand

Land and Freedom!
Zapata Lives!
Until victory always!
Political prisoners! Freedom!
Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!
Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!
No to dispossession of indigenous territories!

 

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The Assassination of the pro-Zapatista leader is proof that “the government wants to finish us off,” they accuse 

 ** The indigenous say that the Army relentlessly harasses residents of Nah Choj and Virgen de Dolores

** They want to dispossess us of our lands through the actions of paramilitary groups, they assert

By: Hermann Bellinghausen, Envoy

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, March 23, 2014

1947950_622750454467639_1318256089_nLast Friday the 21st, at approximately 9 o’clock in the morning, the young Tzeltal, Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, was ambushed and murdered. He received more than 20 high-calibre shots while he was driving his small truck with passenger seats, at the San José Chapapuyil crossing, in the direction of the Virgen de Dolores autonomous community, which was founded in 2010 on lands recuperated by campesinos adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle.

Juan Carlos, 22, was the regional coordinator of the Sixth for the San Sebastián Bachajón ejido and the father of a six-month old baby, reported the ejido owners, meeting together today in Ocosingo to issue the denunciation. Chilón municipal police and state preventive police arrived at the crime scene, taking photos and video “without respect for the deceased and his family.” The Chilón Public Ministry said that the body would be taken away to perform an autopsy, “but we did not allow it, because this is our custom, and we took him to rest at Virgen de Dolores community so we could pray for him,” the indigenous explained.

Ever since they founded the communities of Nah Choj and Virgen de Dolores in 2010, “the Army and the state police have harassed our organization, threatening it with eviction because of pressures from those who say they are owners of the property, a former municipal president among them.”

The government strategy has been to foment “division and buy the consciences of some ex compañeros with its crumbs, like it did with Carmen Aguilar Gómez and his son of the same name who, when he sold out to Noé Castañón León, the Secretary of Government of Juan Sabines Guerrero, organized for the eviction of our ticket booth on February 2, 2011 and dispossessed us of our lands in complicity with the ex ejidal commissioner Francisco Guzmán Jiménez.”

The government, they maintained, “wants to finish us off completely by assassinating our compañeros, like it did with Juan Vázquez Guzmán on April 24, 2013, using its paramilitary gunmen, who with complete impunity, be it by night or in the full light of day, are capable of vilely murdering our compañeros who work and struggle to construct a world in which other worlds fit.” Gómez Silvano, for his part, participated in the foundation and the construction of autonomy in Virgen de Dolores.

“The real criminals, assassins and corrupt ones are the party politicians who, despite reaching their position through fraud and buying votes, consider that they are the owners of all that exists in our lands. Every day they want to get richer and it doesn’t matter how many indigenous they have to kill to achieve this.”

The complainants emphasized that the current mayor of Chilón, Leonardo Guirao Aguilar, “a member of the Green Ecologist Party,” is “one of the authors of the dispossession of our lands, because he financed the weapons of the group that evicted our compañeros from the ticket booth in February 2011,” at the access to the Agua Azul Cascades.

The organization of the Sixth “has had the dignity to continue struggling” despite many of them having been imprisoned or murdered. “We are not afraid because we are on the path that our grandparents followed. Our ancestors have given us the wisdom to read the signs of life and of the times. The bad governments come and go, but the peoples who have resisted still stand here struggling.”

A few weeks before the first anniversary of the assassination of Vázquez Guzmán, the ejido owners add, “the bad government sends its killers to injure the Virgen de Dolores community, which was born with great effort and sacrifice” and now milpas and fruit trees grow there “to feed our children.”

The ejido owners of the Sixth conclude that: “Manuel Velasco Coello and Enrique Peña Nieto are wrong if they think that they are going to finish us off with violence and repression.”

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Monday, March 24, 2014

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/03/24/politica/018n1pol

 

 

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Young indigenous leader assassinated in Chilón, Chiapas

**Accounts say he was shot 20 times

Hermann Bellinghausen

La Jornada
Sunday March 23, 2014

San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, March 22

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, from the municipality of Chilón, was assassinated on Friday on a dirt road in this same location. According to reports picked up by La Jornada, the indigenous man received at least 20 shots.

Koman Ilel, an alternative media from this city, said Silvano Gómez, a Tzeltal campesino aged 21, “participated in the construction of autonomy on the land recuperated from the predio Virgen de Dolores” in the municipality, and was regional coordinator of the Sixth Declaration, convoked by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). His community is organized in resistance with the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón.

According to the local press, Silvano Gómez was allegedly traveling alone in a small Nissan farm truck. His body was found at the Chapapujil crossing near the municipal capital of Chilón. According to “unofficial” reports from the judicial authorities of the state, the agent of the Public Ministry Octavio Bautista Martinez arrived at the scene to take away the body of the young indigenous leader, but a large group of “hooded men” had taken it away “for burial”.

Meanwhile, Koman Ilel recalls that, less than a year ago, Juan Vázquez Guzmán, leader of the Sixth of San Sebastián Bachajón was executed, also in the municipality of Chilón. “Why do they kill them?” asks the informative note, and it states that the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón “has for years kept up a strong struggle against the dispossession of their territory.”

It points out that “different actors, including local, state and federal governments, transnational corporations (Norton Consulting) and paramilitary groups are promoting legal and illegal strategies to carry out one of the most ambitious projects in the region, part of Plan Puebla -Panama: the Palenque Integrally Planned Centre, a network of infrastructure and services that seeks to join together natural and archaeological attractions for an elite tourism,” transforming the indigenous population “into sevants” in their own communities.

One of the government strategies to ensure territorial control, adds the information from Koman Ilel, “has been the co-optation or intimidation of the ejidal authorities, as well as legal persecution and selective assassinations of those who are opposed to being dispossessed, as is the case with compañeros Juan Carlos Silvano Gómez and Juan Vázquez Guzmán.”

Chilón is currently governed, like Chiapas itself, by the Green Party of Mexico. The authorities have been complicit or remiss, at the very least, faced with the aggressions suffered systematically by the ejidatarios in resistance. The mayor Rafael Guirao Aguilar, certainly, also presides over the state’s Green Chiapas Foundation, which supports his fellow party member, the Governor Manuel Velasco Coello.

 

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/03/23/index.php?section=politica&article=017n1pol

 

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Assassination of Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, from the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, Adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, Chiapas

bachajon_ya-bastaThey, those from above, think they know how to damage our rebellion, they are almost certain that by ravaging our compañerxs, tearing up their bodies, they will spread fear and terror and we will stop fighting. We, those from below, we think that dignity, strength, and fighting in the defence of the reproduction of life have deep roots, and cannot be finished off with bullets because the body is something other, it is a collective body, remembering our dead not with nostalgia but by naming them when walking in confrontation against the bad government and the economic groups who exploit, dispossess, despise and repress us.

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano was killed yesterday, March 21st, in the official municipality of Chilón in the state of Chiapas, trying to stain the spring with blood. They pierced his body with more than twenty bullets of power, bullets of profit, bullets of deception, the bullets of the war against the people which does not end. But they have not killed his history of struggle.

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, 21 years old, participated in the construction of autonomy in the recuperated land of the predio [ranch] Virgen de Dolores in Chilón, he did this from the dignified struggle of Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the LacandónJungle EZLN, of which he was regional coordinator.

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano was slaughtered just one month before the first anniversary of the murder of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, also an ejidatario and activist from San Sebastián Bachajón.

Why kill them?

Located in the north east of Chiapas, the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle of the EZLN, has maintained for many years a strong fight against the dispossession of its territory. Various actors, including the municipal, state and federal governments, transnational corporations (Norton Consulting) and even paramilitary groups (OPDDIC) are promoting legal and illegal strategies to carry out what would be one of the most ambitious projects in the region, one which is part of Plan Puebla Panama: the Palenque CIP (Integrally Planned Centre), a network of infrastructure and services through which it seeks to combine the natural and archaeological attractions for an elite tourism, forcing its inhabitants into neo-colonial bondage in their own communities.

In this context, one of the strategies used to ensure territorial control has been the co-optation and/or intimidation of the ejidal authorities and the judicial prosecution and selective assassination of those who are opposed to being dispossessed, as is the case of the compañeros Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano and Juan Vázquez Guzmán.

For the rest of the world, the struggle of the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón is a mirror of learning to look at the Horror of the war which affects all of us and every one of our territories, but also to look at the Resistance which grows and widens faced with the impossibility of living without struggling.

At the time of the publication of this note an official statement from the compañerxs of the Ejido San Sebastian Bachajón is still awaited; this will surely elaborate on what we know so far.

 

by Rene Olvera

San Cristobal de Las Casas Chiapas,

March 21, 2014

 

http://komanilel.org/2014/03/22/asesinan-a-juan-carlos-gomez-silvano-del-ejido-de-san-sebastian-bachajon-adherente-a-la-sexta-declaracion-de-la-selva-lacandona-chiapas/

 

 

 

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They denounce that the ejido authorities in Chilón, Chiapas, were elected with forged signatures

 

** The ejido owners present a complaint to the Unitary Agrarian Tribunal in Comitán

** In the record of the proceedings of the respective assembly, signatures appear of persons who have already died, they point out

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

bachajon11Tzeltal ejido owners, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle from San Sebastián Bachajón ejido, in Chilón, Chiapas, presented a complaint to the Unitary Agrarian Tribunal (TUA, its initials in Spanish) of Comitán de Domínguez, against the record of assembly proceedings by means of which ejido authorities were illegally designated, and in contravention of international treaties in matters of indigenous peoples.

This record, according to the ejido owners, presents falsified signatures, because among the signers there are persons who have already died and others others who did not even participate in the assembly.

The indigenous people initiated legal action against the officialist (pro-government) ejido authorities, for the purpose of defending their territory, reports the lawyer Ricardo Lagunes Gasca, who shows the admission agreement for the agrarian complaint presented, whose case number is 29/2014, in the TUA of District 54 in Comitán.

Last February 5, the San Sebastián Bachajón ejido owners challenged the designation of Alejandro Moreno Gómez, Antonio Luna Hernández and Gerónimo Gómez Pérez as president, secretary and treasurer of the ejido commission.

At the same time, the ejido owners and adherents to the Sixth complained to the Agrarian Tribunal: “the rendition of accounts and the balance of each and every one of the income and expenses during the period that Francisco Guzmán Jiménez, Miguel Moreno Jiménez and Jacinto Álvaro Gómez occupied the same positions, since as of this date and despite having left the position, they have not complied with this obligation that the Agrarian Law mandates and with the uses and customs of the indigenous community.”

The state government’s direct intervention in internal matters of the ejido and its different villages has gone on for several years. It has provoked violence against those who peacefully defend their territory, painful divisions and incarcerations under false charges. Less than one year ago, one of the principal leaders of the resistance, Juan Vázquez Guzmán, was murdered.

As La Jornada reported on February 7, the complaint filed by the Tzeltals of Bachajón was admitted by the TUA in Comitán, and it has issued a summons to the officialist ejido authorities of San Sebastián Bachajón “to answer the complaint and be present before this organ of jurisdiction on March 25 for the purpose of showing what corresponds to their right.”

The legal representative of the ejido owners points out that: “on countless occasions they have denounced the corruption of the officialist (pro-government) authorities of their ejido, for their participation in the delivery of an area of common use lands” to the federal and state governments, “for the implementation of a tourist megaproject designed for transnational corporations, within the Mesoamerican regional plan and the Palenque Integrally Planned Centre.” With their legal action, he concludes, “the adherents to the  Sixth exercise an integral defence of their territory.”

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Saturday, March 8, 2014

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/03/08/politica/017n1pol

English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the International Zapatista Translation Service

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Ejidal Commissioner of Bachajón deceives Tzeltales in order to dispossess them of their lands

They denounce that with false promises he is collecting signatures to simulate an assembly

Hermann Bellinghausen

La Jornada
Thursday March 6, 2014

???????????????????????????????Tzeltal ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón in Chilón, Chiapas, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, denounced the illegal manoeuvres by the ejidal commissioner to formalize the dispossession of communal territory for tourist purposes, something which the ejidatarios have struggled against for several years.

The indigenous said that this officialist commissioner, Alejandro Moreno Gómez, “continues to deceive with false promises the people of the community of San Sebastián Bachajón, because he asked for their signature and a copy of the certificate of land rights in exchange for crumbs, saying he is going to get a government coffee project, but this is a lie because he is only gathering the list of signatures and the land documents in order to fabricate minutes of the ejidal assembly and ask the Seventh District Court in Tuxtla Gutierrez to cancel our amparo 274/2011, which yesterday, 3 March, completed 3 years in operation and the bad government could not bring it down due to the organization of our people.”

Moreno Gómez and his Chairman of the Vigilance Commission, Samuel Diaz Guzman, “tried to simulate that an act of the general assembly of ejidatarios had been made, but this is not true, because they are doing it in secret, out of sight of the people, like true criminals,” added the ejidatarios of the Sixth.

“Our organization will not allow the ejidal authorities to continue, along with the bad government, dispossessing our people. Since 2007 the bad government has intervened in the internal life of our community to impose ejidal representatives as they please, who serve them as if they were their minions to defend the interests of the capitalists and not those of the indigenous people.” They note that Moreno Gómez “does not know his people, because he has lived for a long time outside [the community], he is only interested in filling his bags of money for himself, this is why it suits the bad government to have him as Commissioner, because they can manipulate him as they like, and this is why they imposed him.”

The ejidatarios disclosed that, last February 5, they challenged the minutes of the assembly held on April 18, 2013 to elect the organs of representation of the ejido, in which Alejandro Moreno Gómez “was imposed” by representatives of the government of the State of Chiapas and the Agrarian Prosecutor from Ocosingo. “There are irregularities such as the forging of the signatures of the ejidatarios, and non-compliance with the requirements of agrarian law,” as well as the “lack of accountability” of the former ejidal commissioner Francisco Guzmán Jiménez (aka the Goyito).

The indigenous of the Sixth concluded: “These false representatives are accomplices of the bad government, they dispossess their people and seek to repress our organization through imprisonment and death.” They do not say this figuratively. Several of them have been imprisoned (the last two were released less than three months ago). Last April, Juan Vázquez Guzmán, leader of the resistance, was executed on the doorstep of his home in Bachajón; the crime remains unpunished, and the judicial authorities do not even pretend to investigate the case.

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/03/06/index.php?section=politica&article=021n1pol

 

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Communiqué from San Sebastián Bachajón, 4 March 2014.

FROM THE EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJON, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO,                                 4 MARCH 2014 

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To public opinion

1E3.grandeCompañeros and compañeras who struggle for a world where many worlds fit, we share our word of the true women and men of the community of San Sebastián Bachajón who are organized as adherents to the sixth declaration of the lacandón jungle in defence of our territory.

We denounce that the officialist ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez is continuing to deceive the people of the community of San Sebastián Bachajón with false promises because he asked for their signature and a copy of the certificate of land rights in exchange for crumbs saying he is going to get a government coffee project, but this is a lie because he is only gathering the list of signatures and the land documents in order to fabricate minutes of the ejidal assembly and ask the Seventh District Court in Tuxtla Gutierrez to cancel our amparo 274/2011, which yesterday, 3 March, completed 3 years in operation and the bad government could not bring it down due to the organization of our people.

This Alejandro Moreno Gómez and his Chairman of the Vigilance Commission, Samuel Diaz Guzman, tried to simulate that an act of the general assembly of ejidatarios had been made, but we make clear that this is not true, because they are doing it in secret, out of sight of the people, like true criminals.

Our organization will not allow the ejidal authorities to continue, along with the bad government, dispossessing our people. Since 2007 the bad government has intervened in the internal life of our community to impose ejidal representatives as they please, who serve them as if they were their minions to defend the interests of the capitalists and not those of the indigenous people. Alejandro Moreno Gómez does not know his people, because he has lived for a long time outside the community, he does not know the needs of San Sebastián Bachajón, he is only interested in filling his bags of money for himself, this is why it suits the bad government to have him as Commissioner, because they can manipulate him as they like, and this is why they imposed him.

We inform you that on February 5 2014 our organization challenged the minutes of the assembly held on April 18, 2013 to elect the organs of representation of the ejido, in which Alejandro Moreno Gómez was imposed by representatives of the government of the State of Chiapas and the Agrarian Prosecutor from Ocosingo, because there are irregularities such as the forging of the signatures of the ejidatarios, and non-compliance with the requirements of agrarian law, also the lack of accountability of the former ejidal commissioner Francisco Guzman Jimenez (aka the Goyito). These false representatives are accomplices of the bad government, they dispossess their people and seek to suppress our organization through imprisonment and death.

We greet the organizations in struggle and resistance against the projects of dispossession of the bad governments and businesses. We ask all the compañeros and compañeras and national and international solidarity organisations to remain alert as to what is happening in our community.

Never again a Mexico without us.

From the north of Chiapas, receive an embrace from the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón.

Attentively

Land and Freedom!

Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vazquez Guzman Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No dispossession of indigenous territories!

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Prisoners released; the Bachajón struggle continues! 

By Manu Tension

The prison is one of the worst hells that a human being can live; it is one of the weapons that the capitalist system uses to intimidate and force to conform those that protest, defend their rights, resist and construct. Prison is one of the worst nightmares in existence, above all when the person incarcerated turns out to be innocent; and everyone knows that person to be innocent because they know the real motive by which they stand accused of their crimes; and it seems that the only person to be unaware of this is the judge who sentences the innocent to spend years in jail. 
Working Group No Estamos Todxs [1]

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Bachajon y Juan Ingles GrandeOn the 24th of December 2013, Antonio Estrada Estrada, an indigenous Tzeltal and adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, was finally freed from prison after more than two years of incarceration. He followed Miguel Demeza Jiménez (freed on 21st December, 2013) and Miguel Vázquez Deara (the 26thJune, 2013) in being released this year. The latter pair are inhabitants of the ejido community of San Sebastian Bachajón, and were being held unjustly in prisons in Chiapas in the context of their struggle for the defence of ejido (that is, collectively owned and worked) territory and against the plunder of their natural resources. Even if the ejido no longer counts political prisoners among its number, it continues to resist in the context of a war that seeks to finish their community, and their way of life, for good.

The case: “A legal farce and a set-up” (Lagunes)

On the evening of the 27th of December, in the Cultural Space “El Paliacate” in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Antonio arrived with his lawyer, Ricardo Arturo Lagunes, to give a press conference. The two men told those present about the series of events that had occurred since Antonio’s detention, on the 7th of August, 2011. They related how Antonio Estrada was apprehended that day upon leaving his house – without an arrest warrant or ministerial order – to then be taken to Palenque. Disappeared and denied all contact with the outside world for more than 24 hours, he was subject to torture that left him with a broken nose and a fractured rib. The attacks occurred in the offices of the local government administration, before he was later transferred to Ocosingo.

The following day, on the 8th of August, 2011, they moved him again, this time to a location close to the gravel bank at Bachajón. It was there that six police officers were involved in fabricating his crime, creating the scene of an attack where he had supposedly been caught red-handed and arrested for “assault, organized crime and carrying weapons only permitted for Army use”. Soon afterwards, they tortured a confession out of him. Antonio Estrada was sentenced to 7 years in prison.

This is just one example of the persecution that the inhabitants of San Sebastián Bachajón have suffered since 2011, on the part of the official ejido authorities and municipal, state and federal governments. This ejido is one of the biggest in the country; it can count on more than 4,000 members and an impressive biodiversity, with much flora and fauna. It is worth emphasising that it is also located very close to the Agua Azul waterfalls, which the government is seeking to convert into a global tourist attraction; the zone has thus pricked the interests of both national and international businesses, creating conflict over the ownership of these territories that are so rich in natural resources.

Terrority as plunder of war

During the press conference, Antonio Estrada Estrada and Ricardo Arturo Lagunes denounced Francisco Guzmán (ex-ejidal commissioner for the Institutional Revolutionary Party [PRI]), Juan Álvaro Moreno and Manuel Jiménez Moreno, as those responsible for the acts of violence that have taken place in the zone.

“They are the same people from the official party that have at other points participated in violent acts, such as the displacement of the toll booth at the Agua Azul waterfalls on the 2nd of February, 2011”, Lagunes said. In the aftermath of that act, police and military forces detained more than 100 members of the ejido, some of whom had to wait until June of that year to be released. After that, “the State decided to attack the organization selectively”, the lawyer told us. The imprisonment of Antonio Estrada Estrada and Miguel Demeza Jiménez served as an example, creating scapegoats in the context of a broader strategy to sow fear in the community and silence social protest.

At the same time, the area was militarized and the state government of Juan Sabines, ex-governor of Chiapas, signed an agreement with the state-recognised ejido authorities that would see them hand over land to the state. Ceding to state interests, those co-opted authorities overrode the assembly, the principal authority of the ejido and transcendental historical figure of the indigenous peoples of Chiapas. In the words of Lagunes:

“This is the group that the State itself has empowered not only to imprison people, but to take over, illegally, the communal territories.”

All of these occurrences only confirm the State’s desire to erode the social fabric of the community and divide further the ejido, “encouraging an individualist environmentalism, demoralizing and dismantling [the ejido‘s] more collective and community-based structures”, Lagunes continues.

Faced with economic, psychological and social erosion, the cooptation of authorities, dispossession of communal territories and a brutal repression during which Juan Vázquez Guzman was killed in April 2013 [2], the San Sebastián Bachajón ejido has become a site of low-intensity warfare. Despite this, the ejido‘s inhabitants continue to resist and assert that the death of Guzman, rather than being the end of their movement, gave them yet another reason to keep on in the struggle.

Whilst Miguel Demeza Jimenez was absolved of all charges, Antonio was released on the basis that he remain technically guilty and retain a criminal record; this after having lodged a legal complaint before the legal authorities for the human rights abuses he suffered.


The struggle is not over

Lagunes emphasises that the release of these prisoners “is an important moment in the struggle of the San Sebastián Bachjón ejido, one which was achieved thanks to national and international solidarity”, and thanks the members of the Movement for Justice in El Barrio in New York, an organization adherent to the Sexta, who also sent a letter of solidarity which was read out during Estrada’s press conference. He also recognised many other collectives, free media and other organizations for their support.

The message is clear: the inhabitants of San Sebastián Bachajón remain resolute and strong in the struggle to defend their identity, their territory and observance of their fundamental rights as indigenous people; and they demand justice and an investigation into the intellectual and material authors of the killing of Juan Vasquez Guzmán, which has until now gone unpunished.

“Juan Vasquez Guzmán was always at the forefront of the people, and the ejido members. He was like a spokesperson for us, because there are only a few of us that speak a bit of Spanish, only a few of us that know how to read and write, because of that we are spokespeople. That’s why they sent people to kill him, simply for speaking out and defending our territory, Mother Earth and the natural resources that belong to the ejido.” [3]

Finally, they demand the release of Alejandro Díaz Santis – prisoner in CERESO no. 5 – with whom Antonio Estrada Estrada was able to talk shortly before the conference.

References:

  • [1] Grupo de Trabajo No Estamos Todxs. “Denuncia de Antonio Estrada, preso político del ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas” (20th October 2013). pozol.org
  • [2] José Aureliano Buendía / SubVersiones (3rd June 2013). “San Sebastián Bachajón, despojo y violencia del Estado mexicano”. subversiones.org
  • [3] Domingo Pérez in an (unpublished) interview with SubVersiones (14th November 2013).

Audios of the press conference:

  • Conferencia de prensa por la libertad de Antonio Estrada Estrada 27/12/2013. archive.org
  • Conferencia de Prensa por la libertad de Miguel Demeza 24/12/2013. archive.org

More information:

http://subversiones.org/archivos/18050

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Ejidatarios Displaced from Chenalhó Suffer Threats when Harvesting their Coffee Fields

 ** Indigenous Tzeltal unjustly arrested and imprisoned receives amparo (protection order)

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, January 26th, 2014

ricardoRepresentatives of the displaced people from the ejido Puebla, in Chenalhó, who on Monday will complete 10 days harvesting the coffee fields which they left behind last August, announced that they will return to take refuge again in the Las Abejas camp in Acteal, where they have been staying for six months, because conditions for their definitive return still do not exist and the state government has not fulfilled the demands of the indigenous, Nicolás Cruz Pérez stated today.

“During the time we have been harvesting the coffee we have received threats and attacks, we have a list of these acts, and are letting the Public Prosecutor (who the government sent from January 17 to 27) know about the threats and attacks,” which are the same ones Governor Manuel Velasco Coello was told about “on his visit to our ejido on January 22,” added the indigenous, insisting on a “just and dignified” return.

The demands of the families, who were displaced by the violence of an officialist (pro-government) group from the community are: reparations for damages (robberies, damage to property and crops), restitution of the chapel annexed by the ejido authorities, and the application of the law to the numerous crimes committed by the officialist group.

During the time that they have stayed in the ejido, the displaced have received continual insults and threats of the same kind that dispossessed them of the chapel. 

Antonio Estrada Estrada

In another matter, it was reported that the Tzeltal campesino Antonio Estrada Estrada, from San Sebastián Bachajón (Chilón), received an amparo (legal protection order) which opens the door to his final acquittal. Released from prison last December 24th, until now his freedom has not been complete.

The state government released Estrada, an adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, after he had been arrested illegally, tortured and unjustly deprived of his freedom for more than two years. When he left the prison at Playas de Catazajá the accusations of a federal crime, although unfounded, were still hanging over him. For this reason he still has to go periodically to sign in at a lower court in the state capital.

The lawyer Ricardo Lagunes Gasca, legal representative of the ejidatarios, explained that his liberation was through a benefit of law granted by the Chiapas government. However, “Antonio has not legally regained his innocence,” plus he also faces a federal trial before the sixth district judge in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. This trial derives from the same matter for which he was sentenced to more that seven years; now the charge is added of carrying a firearm for the exclusive use of the Army.

On Friday, 24th January, added the lawyer, “the third collegiate tribunal in Tuxtla Gutiérrez issued the decision in the case of the petition for amparo filed by Estrada in September 2013, challenging the sentence of more that seven years in prison delivered by the lower court judge of Playas de Catazajá, for the alleged crimes of armed robbery and organized crime, of which he was accused by specialized police from the State’s Prosecutor General of Justice.”

In its judgement, the federal tribunal decided in favour of the indigenous man: “due to the violations of his human rights it awarded him the amparo outright, which has the effect of absolving him completely of the acts for which he spent more than two years unjustly imprisoned.”

With this resolution the doors are open for the judge of the sixth district in Tuxtla Gutiérrez “to grant Antonio Estrada Estrada his complete freedom in the federal criminal case which is being heard in that court, and for him to finally recover his complete legal freedom,” the lawyer concluded.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Monday, January 27, 2014

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/01/27/politica/019n1pol

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Adherents to the Sixth denounce official moves to dispossess them of ejidal territory

A Chilón commissioner is collecting signatures to cancel the amparo “through deceptions”

They demand the “complete freedom” of Antonio Estrada; each month he has to appear before the court

By: Hermann Bellinghausen,

La Jornada, Saturday, January 25, 2014

Ocosingo, Chiapas, January 24, 2014

aliciayzoraidaThe ejidatarios [communal landholders] of San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to The Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, have denounced that the officialist [pro-government] authorities are preparing a new fraudulent move to justify the handing over of part of the ejidal territory to the government for purposes of tourism, and in this way to consolidate a dispossession which has been underway since 2011.

The Tzeltal ejidatarios, from the official municipality of Chilón, pointed out “the deceptions and corruptions of Alejandro Moreno Gómez, officialist commissioner, and his vigilance council chairman, Samuel Díaz Guzmán, who are deceiving the ejidatarios and the people in general in the town of Sebastián Bachajón with false promises of getting a government coffee project, and are asking them for a copy of the certificate of land rights and of the IFE’s voting credential, supposedly to secure that project.”

However, that “is a lie, because we know that once again they are going to fabricate assembly minutes with falsified signatures of ejidatarios, in order to ask the seventh district court, with its seat in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, for the cancellation of our amparo [protective order] 274/2011. This is the true intention of Moreno Gómez, advised by the bad state and federal governments, behind the backs of the general assembly of ejidatarios, which is the highest body.” With this manoeuvre “they are seeking to eliminate obstacles to keeping our lands, violating the bad government’s own laws and violating our right as a people recognized in the Constitution and international treaties.”

At the same time the indigenous denounce that the government of Manuel Velasco Coello “did not completely free our compañero Antonio Estrada Estrada (prisoner until last December), because they only took him out of the prison, but legally they continue to hold him guilty of the attack of which two specialized Palenque police accused him. He must sign every eight days at the sixth district court in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, because they also fabricated the crime of carrying a federal firearm against him, when the compañero was tortured. He is innocent and has no economic resources.”

In their denunciation, the ejidatarios say that last December 24th, when Estrada Estrada was released, the Undersecretary of Government, Carlos Morelos Rodríguez, “went to the Catazajá Prison to make him sign a document, telling him that the board of reconciliation of the Chiapas government needed it to give him freedom that same day, and that he would not be released if he did not sign it; so the compañero signed it.” Afterwards, the state authorities delivered that document to the third collegiate tribunal in Tuxtla Gutiérrez “so that it would cancel protective order 915/2013 which was in place against the sentence of seven years for robbery and organized crime.”

The Alejandro Díaz Santiz case

The ejidatarios demand from the government: “the immediate cancellation of the charges against our compañero, and also the release of Alejandro Díaz Santiz, member of solidarity with the Voice of El Amate, who is held in Cereso Number 5 in San Cristóbal de las Casas”.

They warn that the people of San Sebastián Bachajón will continue resisting “the dispossession and persecution from the bad state and federal governments.” They greet the peoples and indigenous communities of Mexico and the world “who are also fighting for Mother Earth and don’t let themselves be overcome by the violence, discrimination and contempt from the bad government and its capitalist entrepreneurs, who seek to make us disappear so they can take over our land and its natural resources”.

They demand that: “our people and organization be respected” and they reiterate: “we are not going to allow the humiliations from the bad government and those who want to continue dispossessing us and discriminating against us just for being poor and indigenous. We will continue fighting for what is ours, even though the government may not like it.”

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/01/25/politica/015n1pol

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Communiqué from San Sebastian Bachajón, 22nd January, 2014 

San Sebastian Bachajón continues to resist dispossession and persecution from the bad federal and state governments. 

FROM THE EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJON, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 22nd JANUARY, 2014

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To public opinion

bachajon (1)Compañeros and compañeras, the people of San Sebastian Bachajón continue resisting in struggle against the dispossession and persecution from the bad federal and state governments. We greet all the peoples and indigenous communities of Chiapas, Mexico and the world who are also fighting for Mother Earth and do not let themselves be overcome by the violence, discrimination and contempt from the bad government and its capitalist entrepreneurs who seek to make us disappear so they can take over our land and natural resources for personal and financial gain.

We denounce the deceptions and corruptions of Alejandro Moreno Gómez, the officialist commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón, and the Chairman of the Vigilance Commission, Samuel Diaz Guzman, who are deceiving the ejidatarios and the people in general of the community of San Sebastián Bachajón with false promises to get a government coffee project; and they are asking for a copy of the certificate of land rights and of the IFE voting credential, supposedly in order to get that project, but it is a lie because we know clearly that once again they are going to fabricate assembly minutes with forged signatures of ejidatarios to ask the Seventh District Court in Tuxtla Gutierrez to cancel our amparo 274/2011; this is the real intention of Alejandro Moreno Gómez, advised by the bad state and federal government; behind the backs of the general assembly of ejidatarios, which is the highest body, they are aiming to remove any obstacles to keeping our lands, violating the very laws of the bad government and violating our rights as a people recognized in the constitution and international treaties.

We also denounce that the bad government of Manuel Velasco Coello has not completely freed our compañero Antonio Estrada Estrada, because they only let him out of prison, but they still legally hold him guilty of the assault of which two specialized police from Palenque, Chiapas, accused him. He must attend to sign every week at the Sixth District Court in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, because they also fabricated the crime of possession of a federal weapon against him when the compañero was tortured; he is innocent and does not have any economic resources.

On 24th December, 2013, when our compañero was freed, the Undersecretary of Government, Carlos Morelos Rodríguez, went to the prison at Catazajá to make our compañero Antonio sign a document, telling him that the Bureau of Reconciliation of the Government of Chiapas needed [his signature] to give him his freedom that same day, and that he would not be released if he did not sign it; so the compañero signed it. Afterwards the Government of Chiapas delivered that document to the Third Collegiate Court in Tuxtla Gutierrez so that it would cancel amparo 915/2013, which was in place against the 7-year sentence for assault and organized crime.

We demand from the bad government the immediate cancellation of the charges against our compañero Antonio Estrada Estrada, and also the liberation of our compañero Alejandro Díaz Santiz, of solidarity with the voice of el amate, held at cereso number 5 in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas.

We demand respect for our people and organization, we will not allow the humiliations from the bad government and from those who want to continue to dispossess us and discriminate against us just for being poor and indigenous; we will continue to fight for what is ours, even though the government does not like it.

We ask all the compañeros and compañeras and national and international solidarity organisations to remain alert as to what is happening in our community.

Never again a Mexico without us.

From the northern zone of Chiapas, receive a hug from the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón.

Attentively

Land and Freedom!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for Political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No dispossession of indigenous territories!

 

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If there is no voice and organisation in the prisons in Chiapas, there will be no freedom

Two more prisoners from Bachajón, Chiapas, are free thanks to the struggle and organisation of their people, even though, in the state, “justice serves those who administer and flaunt it.”

Desinformémonos

1bachajon-presos-391x293“If they do not raise their voice and let people hear, the same thing will continue to happen as has been happening for years in the prisons of Chiapas; where there is poverty and discrimination, both the innocent and the guilty are victims. It is a system where nobody wins, where there is no justice for society,” said Ricardo Lagunes, lawyer for the political prisoners. adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle in Chiapas, in an interview with Desinformémonos.

On 19th December 2013, Miguel Demeza Jiménez was released, and five days later Antonio Estrada, both adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, from the Tzeltal ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, in the municipality of Chilón. Their innocence was established after a period of legal procedures and denouncements. To Lagunes, “there is no difference between the justice exercised by the Party of the Democratic Revolution, and that of the Institutional Revolutionary or the Green Ecologist parties, because for individuals from the indigenous peoples who are in prison, there is no difference between any of the parties.”

The third judge from el Amate prison granted Miguel Demeza the formal order of freedom, as the crime of theft was unproven, while Antonio Estrada, who was being held in CERSS number 17, Playas de Catazjá, in the north of Chiapas, was released on 24th December.

Miguel Demeza Jiménez is 32 years old, a farmer and mason, and is married with young children who depend on him financially. He was arbitrarily detained, without a warrant, on 7th October 7, 2010, in the city of Ocosingo, while he was eating at a street stall along with his cousin. He was held under arraigo[i] and tortured by the Specialised Unit against the Crime of Kidnapping, which comes under the Special Prosecutor Against Organized Crime of the  General Prosecutor of the State of Chiapas; he was subsequently sent to the National Centre for the Social Reintegration of the Sentenced Number 14, “El Amate” (CERSS 14), in Cintalapa de Figueroa, for allegedly being responsible for the kidnapping of a minor, an incident which occurred on October 7th, 2010, and for robbing the Coxito Hardware shop in Ocosingo, on 18th September 2010.

Antonio Estrada Estrada, a Tzeltal campesino originating in the community of Sasamtik, was illegally arrested on August 7th, 2011 by officers of the specialized police. He was sentenced to seven years in prison on charges of assault and organized crime. In both cases there were inconsistencies in the legal process. “For the prisoners of Chiapas, the constant is poverty and discrimination, and a high degree of insensitivity among the judicial and ministerial officials, the public defenders, those who work in the courts, and those who undertake the formalities,” Ricardo Lagunes said.

Besides failures and extreme deficiencies in the administration of justice, states the lawyer, “there is a rejection of those who belong to the indigenous peoples and are living in poverty.”

The case of Miguel, Ricardo Lagunes says, “exemplifies the lack of access to justice and judicial protection, and the discrimination resulting from his economic status and his belonging to an indigenous people. The evidence against him was illegal and insufficient to warrant a criminal prosecution. Miguel was accused of the theft of a mobile phone which was used to organise the kidnapping of a minor, it is the only item which links him to this; moreover, it was possible to demonstrate that the accusation was made ​​illegally and therefore the detention order was in violation of his fundamental rights.”

The lawyer for the indigenous prisoners explains that organisation was decisive: “they gained their liberty by fighting and organizing with their community inside and outside.”

For the justice system in Chiapas, he says the indigenous are invisible.

Alberto Patishtán, Miguel Demeza Jiménez and Antonio Estrada, “had to make themselves visible in this system and no longer be just another prisoner statistic, they opened their eyes and opened the eyes of many people with their freedom, because they realized that you can not wait for justice to reach the institutions.”

“Rich people commit crimes and the settlement occurs in a political way,” he explains, “for example in the case of former Governor Pablo Salazar Mendiguchía, who went to jail and was released through politics, not justice. On the other hand, there are the indigenous prisoners such as Alejandro Díaz Sántiz, who has been in prison for 15 years, four periods with governments of different parties, and he is still inside, “concludes Ricardo Lagunes.

http://desinformemonos.org/2014/01/sin-no-hay-voz-y-organizacion-en-las-carceles-en-chiapas-no-hay-libertad/


[i] ‘Arraigo’, literally root, is a legal concept under which a suspect may be held without formal charges for up to 40 days.
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Antonio Estrada Estrada, former prisoner from San Sebastián Bachajón, is free!!

estrada-1

Antonio Estrada Estrada (on the right) is here seen with Alberto Patishtán Gómez.

All the prisoners from San Sebastián Bachajón are now free!!!

Antonio is talking on the telephone to the last remaining prisoner who is an adherent to the Sexta, Alejandro Díaz Santiz.

Photo: Marta Molina

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Support and Solidarity from the UK for the community of San Sebastián Bachajón

 

IMG_2323The UK has a long-standing commitment of support and solidarity with the indigenous Tzeltal ejidatarios (common landholders) of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, situated in the northern jungle zone of Chiapas, Mexico, in their struggle to defend their land, territory and natural resources against plunder and dispossession from the Mexican state and its friends in multinational corporations.

Members of the South-West England Committee of the True Word and the Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group came together recently to hold a public meeting, which included a screening of the new film about this struggle: “Land and Resistance in San Sebastián Bachajón”. This moving film, with subtitles in English, was produced by the free media collective Los Tejemedios from Mexico City.

The film shows the dignified resistance of the people from this ejido, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, against ongoing government repression, and their love and respect for their mother earth. It highlights their continuing struggle in defence of their autonomy as indigenous peoples, and to prevent plans to seize their ancestral lands to build a luxury ‘ecotourist’ resort. It also tells of the cruel assassination of their beloved community leader Juan Vázquez Guzmán last April, which still remains unpunished, and how the struggle continues in his memory.

The audience greatly appreciated the opportunity to see a little of the ejido and its lands, the disputed gravel quarry, the beauty of the area, and to learn more about the legal struggle, and the now ex- prisoners of Bachajón, from the ejido’s lawyer Ricardo Lagunes Gasca. It enabled them to hear the words of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, and to see his burial place. They said afterwards that the film had strengthened their support for their brothers and sisters from San Sebastián Bachajón, and also inspired them to continue with their own more local struggles.

Another screening of the film is planned soon.

Now we are celebrating the liberation of Miguel Demeza Jiménez and Antonio Estrada Estrada. Viva Bachajón!

We would like to send a message of love, solidarity and support to the compas of San Sebastián Bachajón, from our own humble struggles on the other side of the world.

The film with English subtitles can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kfc4Z0YpvE

For more information in English and the latest news about San Sebastián Bachajón: https://vivabachajon.wordpress.com/en-ingles/

Write a letter in support of San Sebastián Bachajón: http://dorsetchiapassolidarity.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/request-to-write-a-letter-in-support-of-san-sebastian-bachajon/

 

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FROM THE EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJON, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO,                             24th DECEMBER 2013

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To public opinion

bachajon6Compañeros and compañeras from Mexico and the world, our rebel and dignified heart continues fighting for justice and for respect for our autonomy as a people, by struggling we keep alive the struggle of compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán, who fell in the defense of the territory of San Sebastián Bachajón.

We recently made ​​public knowledge the fact that our organization has founded the gravel quarry Nah Chawuk, in exercise of our right as indigenous people and as ejidatarios to control and protect our territory, and in response to the mismanagement of the principal gravel quarry which currently remains in the hands of the bad government because they have handed it over to the former ejidal commissioner Francisco Guzmán Jiménez (aka the Goyito), the current commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez, and the chairman of the Vigilance Commission Samuel diaz Guzman, together with the lands dispossessed since February 2nd 2011, where the bad government has built a toll booth which is administered by the National Commission for Protected Natural Areas.

We also denounce that the political party supporter and officialist (1) ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón, Alejandro Moreno Gómez and the Chairman of the Vigilance Commission Samuel Diaz Guzman, have threatened to violently displace us from our gravel quarry Nah Chawuk. These true criminals who say they are authorities of the ejido continue to threaten our organization with violent eviction and with putting up barbed wire on our gravel quarry and say that they are going to do it with the backing of the public security forces. We also have knowledge that they are forging signatures in order to fabricate new assembly minutes behind the back of the General Assembly of Ejidatarios, because they want to illegally overthrow our amparo (2) 274/2011 which is still in force and therefore they have not been able to finally consummate their dispossession. The last assembly minutes forged by Alejandro Moreno Gómez were declared illegal by the Third Collegiate Tribunal in Tuxtla Gutierrez.

We have on two occasions received a summons from the government delegate in Chilón, Chiapas, Francisco Demeza Hernandez, for the 5th and 19th December because he wants to force us to sit down and talk with Alejandro Moreno Gómez and Samuel Diaz Guzman, as if all the injustice, impunity and violence could be resolved in a few minutes sitting in his office, when we have a compañero of our organization in prison, our compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán cowardly murdered with impunity and our territory dispossessed with the greatest government authoritarianism and cynicism. Such invitations are a trap by the bad government so they can say that they are working and fixing the problem of the ejido.

We hold fully responsible for any aggression, threat, or attempt on the life and integrity of the authorities of our organization, or of our compañeros and compañeras who work in and care for the gravel quarry Nah Chawuk, the following: Alejandro Moreno Gómez officialist ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajon, Samuel Diaz guzmán officialist chairman of the vigilance commission of san Sebastian bachajon also by occupation a charro (3) teacher, Francisco Guzman Jimenez (aka the Goyito) officialist former ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajon currently a minion and worker at the toll booth of the bad government , the municipal president of Chilón Leonardo Rafael Guirao Aguilar, Manuel Velasco Coello governor of the state of Chiapas, and Enrique Peña Nieto, president of the republic.

We will not take one step back in our struggle, nor will we allow ourselves to be humiliated and discriminated against in our struggle and organization, because we want to continue being a people, we want to defend our culture and identity, we want to continue being what we are, as our late compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán used to say.

We demand the immediate release of our compañero ANTONIO ESTRADA ESTRADA (4) unjustly detained in Playas de Catazajá, Chiapas, imprisoned for the struggle of our people. We also demand the release of compañero Alejandro Diaz Santiz of solidarity with the Voice of el amate, held in cereso number 5 in San Cristobal, Chiapas.

Never again a Mexico without us.

From the northern zone of Chiapas, receive a hug from women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón.

Attentively

Land and Freedom!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for Political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón Struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

Notes:

(1)     Officialist – government-supporting

(2)     Amparo – order for legal protection

(3)     Charro – a trade union leader appointed by, and supporting, the government

(4)     This comunicado was read before the liberation of Antonio Estrada Estrada

 

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Antonio Estrada Estrada, unjustly imprisoned since October 2011, is free!! 

Another ejidatario from San Sebastián Bachajón in Chiapas is released

By Hermann Bellinghausen

La Jornada, 24 Dec 2013

pajaro.grandeSan Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. On Tuesday, in the early afternoon, Antonio Estrada Estrada, adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle and resident of the Tzeltal ejido San Sebastián Bachajón was released; he was being held at the Center for the Social Reinsertion of the Sentenced (CERSS) number 17, in Playas de Catazjá, in the north of Chiapas.

On Tuesday 19th Miguel Demeza Jiménez, also an adherent to the Sixth from the same ejido, had been freed. With the release of Estrada Estrada, San Sebastián Bachajón no longer has any “political prisoners”, who, in the context of resistance to official tourism projects and the dispossession of territory by federal and state agencies, and at the cost of dividing the ejidatarios, had been apprehended and prosecuted during the government of Juan Sabines Guerrero for crimes they did not commit.

The ejidatarios in resistance had said hours before: “Our rebel and dignified heart continues fighting for justice and for respect for our autonomy as a people, by struggling we keep alive the struggle of compañero Juan Vazquez Guzman,” who was assassinated a few months ago at the doors of his home, presumably because of his participation in the defense of the territory of San Sebastián Bachajón. The crime remains unpunished.

The dispossession denounced by the ejidatarios dates from February 2, 2011, when “the bad government built a toll booth administered by the National Commission for Protected Natural Areas.”

After the release of Estrada Estrada, the only adherent to the Sixth who is still a prisoner is Alejandro Díaz Santiz from Solidarity with the Voice of el Amate, who is held in CERSS number 5 in San Cristóbal de las Casas.

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/ultimas/2013/12/24/liberan-a-preso-politico-antonio-estrada-en-chiapas-5952.html

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Miguel Demeza Jiménez, prisoner from San Sebastián Bachajón, is free!!!

The Tzeltal Miguel Demeza is released after three years in prison for crimes he did not commit

**Antonio Estrada Estrada could be freed from CERSS at any time

**Alejandro Díaz Santiz remains imprisoned, despite the undertaking by the state government

Hermann Bellinghausen

La Jornada
Monday December 23, 2013

MdjMiguel Demeza Jiménez, adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle and resident of the Tzeltal ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, Chilón municipality, Chiapas, was released from the prison of San Cristobal de las Casas on 19th December for lack of evidence, according to the determination of a judge at El Amate prison in Cintalapa de Figueroa, where he had spent more than three years in prison, accused of crimes he did not commit.

Similarly, the prompt release is expected of Antonio Estrada Estrada, also from San Sebastián Bachajón, who is being held at the State Centre for the Social Reintegration of the Sentenced (CERSS) number 17 in Playas de Catazajá.

Ricardo Lagunes Gasca, lawyer for the two indigenous men, announced that Demeza Jiménez,  who had recently been transferred to CERSS number 5 in San Cristobal de las Casas, was notified on Thursday of the release order which had been issued by the third criminal judge of Cintalapa “for  lack of evidence to process with respect to the crime of robbery with violence, in compliance with the decision on amparo 1478/2012, granted due to the different violations of his human rights committed by the Office of the Specialised Prosecutor Against Organized Crime (Fecdo, its initials in Spanish) of the Prosecutor  General of Justice of the State of Chiapas in October 2010.”

On Saturday 21, Demeza Jiménez “was notified of the termination of the criminal proceedings in relation to the crime of kidnapping, [of which he was] unlawfully accused by the same Fecdo.” This was as a consequence of the waiving of the criminal proceedings by the state prosecutor.

At 3 pm the same day, the indigenous man was greeted by his family and members of his organization outside the prison.

The persecution of the indigenous people of San Sebastián Bachajón has taken place within the context of their opposition to the dispossession of their ejidal territory carried out by federal and state authorities, in favour of its use by tourists for access to the waterfalls of Agua Azul, in the neighbouring municipality of Tumbalá.

Subject to the possible release of his compañero Antonio Estrada Estrada being confirmed, and two months after the liberation of Professor Alberto Patishtán Gomez, the only indigenous adherent to the sixth who remains imprisoned in Chiapas is the Tzotzil Alejandro Díaz Santiz, who has been imprisoned for 15 of his 33 years. His release from CERSS No 5 remains pending, despite the repeated promise of the state government to obtain his release.

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2013/12/23/index.php?section=politica&article=021n1pol

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Amparo upheld for Miguel Demeza Jiménez, prisoner in El Amate

*He is an adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, imprisoned in 2010

*His defence points out multiple violations of the human rights of the accused, during the legal process

Hermann Bellinghausen

La Jornada, 12th December, 2013

11 Chiapas 01.jpg

The prisoner, a Tzeltal from San Sebastián Bachajón, municipality of Chilón, was identified as probably responsible for robbery with violence at the Coxito Hardware shop in Ocosingo in 2010, and the kidnapping of a minor. Photo from the archive by José Carlo Gonzalez

San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas – The legal struggle for the liberation of Miguel Demeza Jiménez, ejidatario from San Sebastián Bachajón and adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, imprisoned since 2010 in El Amate prison in Cintalapa Figueroa on false charges, won a battle on 9th December when the Second collegiate Tribunal of the Twentieth Circuit confirmed the amparo (1), granted last August to Demeza Jiménez by the first judge of the Central Auxiliary District of the fourth region in Xalapa, Veracruz (where the file was sent.)

According to the indigenous man’s defence lawyer, “when resolving the appeal filed by the Ocosingo hardware store manager Emilio Adiel Argueta Ruiz, and the Federal Public Ministry in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, which challenged the ruling of amparo that recognized the human rights violations committed against Demeza, the Appeals Court upheld the ruling of the federal judge, meaning that in the coming days the third judge of Cintalapa prison will have to give immediate compliance to the protective verdict.”

The Impartiality of the Prosecutor is in Doubt

The judgment of the Collegiate Tribunal confirming the amparo protection granted to Demeza Jiménez, the defence lawyer Ricardo Lagunes Gasca points out, “shows the various violations of his right to access to justice, and to judicial guarantees and protection, which was denied by the Chiapas authorities. It confirms once again that he has been unjustly imprisoned for more than three years, using evidence obtained illegally by the Special Prosecutor against Organized Crime (FECDO), and endorsed by the administration of local justice, which calls into question the impartiality and independence with which the General Prosecutor of Justice for the State must act.

“On August 13, David Gustavo León Hernández, district judge based in Xalapa, “granted the amparo and the protection of the federal court to Demeza Jiménez, in respect of the detention order issued against him by a judge in Cintalapa on September 30, 2012,” for the alleged crime of robbery with violence “which the FECDO illegally attributed to him.” Judge León Hernández ruled that the detention order “violates Article 16 of the Constitution, since the third judge of El Amate prison has not properly stated the basis and the logical and legal reasons to prove the probable criminal responsibility of Demeza Jiménez.”

The detainee, a Tzeltal from San Sebastián Bachajón, in the municipality of Chilón, is 32 years old, a campesino and mason, married, with young children. “Demeza Jiménez was arrested without a warrant on October 7, 2010, in Ocosingo – his defence lawyer explains – held under arraigo (2) and tortured by the Special Unit against the Crime of Kidnapping, a dependency of FECDO; he was then sent to El Amate prison as probably responsible for the crime of robbery with violence at the Coxite Hardware Store in Ocosingo on September 18, 2010, and probably responsible for the kidnapping of a minor which occurred three weeks later.”

The manager of the hardware store, Argueta Ruiz, reported the events two days later, and stated that at the time of the robbery, “he did not recognize the assailants, and that they hit him on the head so hard that he lost consciousness.” On October 15, the specialized police presented Argueta Ruiz before the Public Ministry, since “his mobile phone number was linked to that of his friend Rubén Aníbal Ramírez Monge, with whom he rescued the kidnapped minor.” Then he quietly changed his statements.

“Although there were more leads to follow in an investigation of Argueta Ruiz and Ramírez Monge for their probable involvement in the kidnapping, they were released; they attributed the responsibility for the crime to Miguel in a manner which was illegal and in violation of his human rights,” concludes Lagunes Gasca.

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2013/12/12/index.php?section=politica&article=019n1pol

(1)    ‘Amparo’, literally ‘protection’, is a legal right granted in the Mexican Constitution to individuals and corporations, so that they may appeal to successively higher courts for an order of protection against an action by any level of government believed to be violating their rights. (The amparo is comparable in U.S. law to an injunction to block a government action, or an appeal against a judicial decision, including a criminal conviction.)

(2)   ‘Arraigo’, literally root, is a legal concept under which a suspect may be held without formal charges for up to 40 days. By court order, a suspect may be held for another 40 days without charges. International human rights organizations regularly strongly recommend that the arraigo be eliminated.

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Federal Tribunal resolves amparo (protective order) in favor of the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón

 ** It is the second time that they have declared the decision of the seventh district judge illegal

** Federal and state governments seek to construct a tourist complex on their territories

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

La Jornada, Friday, November 29, 2013

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, November 28, 2013

asamblea LOS en SSBA federal tribunal in Tuxtla Gutiérrez has resolved an amparo (protective order) in favor of the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón and against the occupation of part of the ejidal territory, since February 2011, by the state and federal governments for the purpose of “imposing a world class tourist project,” said the indigenous concerned.

In the decision, published last Monday, November 25th, the federal tribunal “revoked as illegal the decision issued on July 22, 2013 by the seventh district judge residing in Tuxtla Gutiérrez; he had declared the constitutional case in defense of their lands, filed by the Tzeltal campesinos, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, to be inadmissable”, reported Ricardo Lagunes Gasca, legal representative for the indigenous campesinos.

At its session on November 14th, when resolving amparo under review 274/2013, the third collegiate tribunal of the twentieth circuit in the Chiapas capital “granted legal right to the indigenous of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, located in the state’s Northern Zone, who are defending their lands from the plunder by the state and federal governments which has been perpetrated since February 2, 2011, with the aim of controlling their territory in order to impose a tourist project.” The lands which the ejido owners are demanding to be returned to them also include the access road to the Agua Azul Waterfalls, a natural bathing area which is visited each year by hundreds of thousands of tourists.

The defense details: “The tribunal found that the seventh district judge, by failing to notify the general assembly of ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón of the demand for amparo filed in a substitute form by the ejido owners, adherents to the Sixth, infringed the laws of procedure and left the complaining ejido defenseless.” At the same time, the federal tribunal “dismissed as without legal value the document presented by the officialist (pro-government) ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián, Alejandro Moreno Gómez, signed by himself and other representatives of the ejido, with which they sought to dispense with the case for amparo without the authorization and knowledge of the general assembly.”

It is the second time that a federal tribunal has declared to be illegal the decision issued by the seventh district judge, who “since the admission of the demand for amparo on March 4th, 2011, has conducted himself without observing the principles of impartiality, independence and objectivity, favoring the dispossession at all times through arbitrary and subjective decisions,” added Lagunes Gasca.

“It is lamentable –he adds– that two years after having filed the case for constitutionality, there is still no determination to protect the territory of the Tzeltal people of San Sebastián, a fact which encourages impunity, violence and dispossession of the original peoples by state and private agents.”

Given the “evident ineffectiveness” of the case for amparo in protecting the Tzeltal territory, on May 26th of this year a petition on the case was formally presented to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) which has its headquarters in Washington. The ejidatarios’ defense also “requested the implementation of precautionary measures within the framework of the petition, to guarantee the territorial integrity of the indigenous people and the personal integrity of their defenders, which were placed at great risk and vulnerability as a result of the unpunished assassination of the community leader Juan Vázquez Guzmán on April 24th,” at the door of his house.

On June 19th, the CIDH communicated to the ejido owners and adherents to the Sixth that it had requested information from the Mexican government about the issue, a request that, as far as is known, has still not received a response.

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2013/11/29/politica/019n1pol

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Interview with the compañeros of San Sebastián Bachajón

Bachajón and the Importance of its Defence

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San Sebastian Bachajón is located in the central jungle area of the state of Chiapas, in the official municipality of Chilón, Zapatista Autonomous Region San José en Rebeldía. The location of this place has geostrategic importance because it contains a natural area with strategic resources such as land, water, biodiversity in flora and fauna, cultural knowledge, and so on. Therefore, for a decade and a half, the government has been trying to strip the ejidatarios of all the wealth of the area; the first step was to “safeguard” the territory through designating it as a Protected Area for Flora and Fauna (APFyF).

The paradigmatic place is the Agua Azul Waterfalls Biosphere Reserve, where the strategy of land grabbing has been carried out, at least since the nineties, through the demagoguery of “eco-tourism” promoted by the government of Chiapas since Juan Sabines; it is used for the extraction, sale and rent of land and, therefore, for the accumulation of capital. This biosphere has a high capacity for carbon capture, abundant water, and great potential for tourism, which means that the political class and transnational corporations are behind the scheme.

However, this territory is fortunate to have had as its guardian (votán) the men and women of San Sebastian Bachajón, since before the call to organize and defend the territory against greedy capitalist politics made through the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle; in 2008 over 1800 ejidatarios, adherents to the Other Campaign, chose to manage the ticket booth of this tourist complex, exercising their right to the use and enjoyment of their territory.

Alongside this came the entry of private companies, since March 2008 the companies Norton Consulting, Inc. and EDSA Construction, in the context of the implementation of the Mesoamerica Project, better known as Plan Puebla Panama (PPP), have sought to exploit the area for tourism, bringing with it the construction of hotel complexes and transport infrastructure, such as the San Cristobal-Palenque highway and the expansion and relocation of the airport at Palenque. All planned jointly through the state and federal government, with the complicity of the National Fund for Tourism (FONATUR), the Secretariat of Tourism of the State of Chiapas, the secretariat of tourism and international relations, the Ministry of Communications and Transport ( SCT), the Federal Prosecutor for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) and the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), among others.

In short, the struggle to defend San Sebastián Bachajón is the struggle against national and local political mafias and against capitalist corporations eager to dispossess indigenous peoples of their natural resources, their community and their culture. 

The History of the community of Bachajón

 http://www.regeneracionradio.org/live/music/liberacion/Entrevista_Bachajon_nov_2013/Historia.mp3

Current situation: between community building, attacks and harassment.

Last September, by agreement of the assembly, it was decided to set up a new gravel quarry, for their own community; they, unlike the authorities, think it should benefit any community member regardless of whether they belong to the organization or not. This quarry will allow them to “control” a resource of the ejido, but the authorities are arguing that the gravel extraction is damaging an ecological reserve, which is completely false, since the compañeros can prove with legal documents that this is not true[1]. They are not only discrediting the works through the media, they are also currently threatening to send public forces to evict the camp which is guarding the quarry.

 About the current project of the gravel quarry

http://www.regeneracionradio.org/live/music/liberacion/Entrevista_Bachajon_nov_2013/banco_de_arena.mp3

On account of its struggle, Bachajón has suffered various forms of harassment and persecution against members of the organization, as in the case of the compañeros Antonio Estrada Estrada,  who is being held in el Amate, and who is being charged with the crime of assault on a highway, for allegedly attacking a convoy of federal police while in possession of a firearm, and Miguel Demeza Jiménez, who is currently in cereso # 5, on a charge of robbery with violence; ultimately, we know that the two are being charged for their participation in the struggle.

According to a report in the daily el Heraldo de Chiapas, dated November 7, “the state government is discussing some matters concerning the indigenous of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón in Chilón municipality, who are being held in prisons in the municipalities of La Libertad and Playas de Catazajá, who could be beneficiaries of a pardon,” said the Secretary of Government Óscar Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar.

Another case which is in impunity is the kidnapping of Herminio Estrada Gómez, aged 18, on 5th November in the community of Xanil 2nd section, in the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, they also took his pointer vehicle; fortunately he has been released, but not before attempting to extort 40,000 pesos from him. Currently the compañeros are filing a complaint against the illegal kidnapping of the compañero, indicating judicially those who perpetrated it: Santiago Álvaro Moreno the officialist deputy ejidal commissioner, along with Juan Álvaro Moreno and Santiago Álvaro Gómez – all three are neighbours, from the community of Xanil 2nd section – and Manuel Jiménez Moreno from Pamalha community. 

On the repression

http://www.regeneracionradio.org/live/music/liberacion/Entrevista_Bachajon_nov_2013/represion.mp3

One of the most unfortunate occurrences which the compañeros have suffered is the assassination on April 24th this year of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, who was murdered outside his home. Since that time there has been no evidence of any effective investigation into his murder, and neither the material no