CALL TO ACTION
Fox Will Ask For San Andre's Accords to Be Made Law
Announces He Will Send Proposal to Congress
|From: irlandesa firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally published in Spanish by La Jornada
Translated by irlandesa
Sunday, August 20, 2000.
The Zapatista Are Indeed Speaking
* Neil Harvey *
To the consternation of some observers of the conflict in Chiapas, Subcomandante Marcos has remained silent regarding the July 2 elections. He is criticized for his extensive communiques, postscripts and etceteras, and now he is being recriminated for his mute response to Vicente Fox's victory and the candidates for Alliance for Change. It appears that Marcos cannot win. If he speaks, he is a genial imposter. If he remains silent, he is a self-marginalized intransigent. But who has the right to ask Marcos to present himself in a manner which most suits one? What really disconcerts Marcos' critics is not that Marcos has remained silent, but rather that he has not agreed to speak in the terms of the Fox transition. The fifteen minute solution is not going to happen, not because Marcos is intransigent, but because the Fox team has still not grasped the magnitude of the conflict in Chiapas, nor does it understand that zapatismo is more than Marcos.
Reducing the solution to a problem of contact between Fox and Marcos is worrisome, because it is an attempt to ignore the history of the San Andre's dialogues, in which the EZLN consulted with its support bases in the communities and with broad sectors of civil society and was represented not by the person of Marcos, but rather by its indigenous comandantes and delegates. If the Fox team really wants to know what the zapatistas are thinking at this moment, it would be enough to visit Chiapas, to see the level of militarization and paramilitarization which exists. To learn the problems of the displaced in depth, to recognize the willingness to participate in the elections, if, that is, the forces of the old regime respect them. To speak with the indigenous women who suffer sexual harassment by the "forces of order." To help those who are building, from the communities, the defense of human rights. That would be the most important step in the building of democracy in Chiapas.
Ever since July 2, these grievances, demands and desires have been present in the actions and the words of many indigenous in Chiapas, and not just among the zapatistas. A few examples will suffice: the denuncias against the practice of vote buying on July 2. The dislocation of indigenous in El Parai'so, municipality of Yajalo'n, perpetrated by the Peace and Justice paramilitary group. The slow reaction by the police forces to that attack.
The threats of similar dislocations in various other places in the state, most notably in the Northern region. The slander against observers of the August 20 election. The denuncia (a year ago now) by the indigenous of the Amador Herna'ndez ejido that the military base established in their community is illegal and should be removed. The ongoing demand for liberty by the indigenous who are still imprisoned in Cerro Hueco jail for political reasons. The yearning that - with the change at the national level - a new opportunity is presenting itself to respond to these grievances and demands, but also the uncertainty as to whether or not the new leaders will have the capacity and the will to make these dreams a new reality for Chiapas and for the rest of the country.
Zapatismo is present, but not in the submissive, marginalized or exhausted way that some think or perhaps want. Nor is zapatismo reducible to the figure of Marcos. And so, if it is a question of building peace with dignity and justice (both fundamental elements for democracy), Fox's team will have to make a greater effort to listen to the zapatistas as and how they are, and not force them to speak in the terms which most suit the new political elite. Dialogue is the only path for achieving this end, which requires, as basic pre-conditions, demilitarization and the creation of new channels of mediation.
The zapatistas are speaking. Will they be heard?
CPTnet August 10, 2000
Bees to march, take demands to governor
Armed Group Attacks Pro-Rebel Villages in Mexico
Chiapas Poised for GenocideA Time of Urgency
On the eve of the presidential elections in Mexico the situation in the State of Chiapas has grown to a critical juncture. Military and paramilitary forces are setting the stage for a final showdown with the rebellious Zapatista movement. The time is now and the result of any armed conflict will be genocidal for the indigenous people of Chiapas.
For this reason the members of "Zapatistas Online" are sending out this urgent call to unity with other activist communities throughout the world. Though our particular "issues" may differ, the idealism and values which we hold true are consistent. Chiapas is a mirror and a real time example of the misguided policies of free trade and globalization. Millions of indigenous people practicing a traditional lifestyle are threatened not only with change, but, with cultural extinction. The government of Mexico offers them a choice between global economic slavery or death.
Events in the conflict are escalating on a daily basis now. The analysts both in Mexico and in the USA fear the worst is about to happen. A Ruling party victory, whether legitimate or by the historical use of electoral fraud, in the presidential elections will be taken by the government as a rubber stamp for war against the indigenous of Chiapas.
We need your help and we need it now. Though there are many pressing issues throughout the world, Chiapas is now at the critical moment. We are asking for two things from the activist communities worldwide.
First: Letter writing campaigns to your local and national news media and governments condemning the actions of the Mexican government and asking for international pressure to remove the military from Chiapas.
Second: Preparations for a massive emergency protest in the event that open war does break out.
Again, the situation in Chiapas is critical. Murder, assassination, intimidation, torture and other violations of the human rights of a minority ethnic group taking are now taking place daily and escalating in seriousness and quantity as well.
Please join us in raising a gigantic wall of protest in support of the rights of the indigenous people of Chiapas Mexico.
Zapatistas Online meets at email@example.com, an email list. The English language messages from the firstname.lastname@example.org edited news list come into our list. We discuss the news, look for ideas, encourage street action, and issue proclamations. We make our decisions by formal democracy, following the democratic ideals the Zapatistas defend.
Help us to be a Voice. Join us by sending the message "subscribe zo-en" to email@example.com.
READ MORE ABOUT IT
Conflict in Chiapas: Understanding the Modern Mayan World
Rebellion in Chiapas : An Historical Reader
Voices from Exile : Violence and Survival in Modern Maya History
THE MAYANS DID NOT DISAPPEAR
On December 22, 1997, 45 unarmed Maya people, mostly women and children, were gunned down with automatic weapons by a group of 50 to 60 "paramilitary" thugs in the village of Acteal. The situation in Chiapas is tragic and complex - do not be fooled by the Mexican government's attempts to confuse the issue by calling this a "family feud". This is not a conflict between various Maya villages. Since the massacre, the Mexican army has been building up troops in Chiapas. Their explanation is that they are there to protect the Indians. But after reading the reports listed here, you will know differently
What Is Happening In Chiapas?
6/1/00 Chiapas Poised for Genocide
6/1/00 Call for Action re: Mexican Presidential Visit
6/1/00 Montes Azules: Ethnic war wearing a green sheepskin
6/1/00 Schools for Chiapas - Letter from Peter Brown
4/1/00 Juanita's Chiapas Journal
1/6/00 New Wave of Harrassment Against Foreigners
12/30/99 Comunique of Pastoral Agents
3/24/99 New Mexican appointee in Washington tied to paramilitary massacre
1/31/98 More Deaths
1/30/98 120 More Expelled From their Homes by Paramilitary
1/29/98 Paramilitary Terrorism Continues
1/21/98 Letter From an Observer
1/16/98 Report on Chiapas by the Human Bean Company, by Kerry Appel, Director
12/17/97 Report from the National Coalition for Democracy in Mexico
STATE OF EMERGENCY FOR THE REFUGEES OF CHENALHO, Chiapas Mexico.
What Is The Reason For This Situation?
Some Personal Observations on the Reasons Behind the Events in Chiapas
by Jeeni Criscenzo
Analysis & History of Chiapas Situation
Nuevo Amanecer Press
Letter to the Economist
by John Warnock
The Financial Connection
National Commission for Democracy in Mexico
Global Outrage Against "The Globalizers of Misery"
SOA - The "School of Assassins" - Your Taxes Pay For It!
Support Senator Joseph Kennedy's Effort to Close the SOA
1/15/98 Major Blair's Letter to Clinton concerning the SOA Protesters
1/20/98 28 SOA Protesters Go Before Hangin' Judge
If you want to know more details on the extent of US involvement in this horrible human rights atrocity, visit this web site: http://www.nonviolence.org/slipperyslope/slip-b.htm
Other Relevant Information
1/18/96 San Andres Accords: Joint Proposals which the Federal Government and the EZLN
SPAN/--Strategic Pastoral Action: CIEPAC maps of Chiapas; Mapas por CIEPAC de Chiapas
IFCO Background - Pastors for Peace
SIPAZ: International Service for Peace - Fram...
Food For Chiapas Online
The Mayan Relief Fund
Standoff In Chiapas
Slippery Slope: U.S. Military Moves Into Mexico
EZLN Communique in Response to the Massacre in Chenalho
MASSACRE IN CHENALHO
Complicity of Mexican Government
Fifth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle
Info on Chiapas and the EZLN
Emergency Delegation to Chiapas
May 21, 2000
From: LeeAnn McNabb CZC1@excite.com
Brothers and Sisters,
May 22nd has been announced as the Zapatista Solidarity Day. If you have the time tomorrow , Monday, May 22nd (or anytime this week), why not do something for the Zapatistas. There are so many small and painless things one can do for the Zapatistas on their Solidarity Day.
To Find out More about the Zapatistas please visit one of the following sites:
Ways to help:
2. Write a letter to President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore to let them know that you support Indigenous Rights and the San Andres Accords. You wish them to pressure the Mexican President to enact the San Andres Accords. There are several different things you could write about. Write to them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and Vice.President@whitehouse.gov. You can write them via snail mail at: President Bill Clinton, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania NW, Washington, DC 20500. Or, you can even call their comments line at (202) 456-1111 and verbally give an operator your message for the President.
3. You can call, fax, or write your closest Mexican Embassy about your concerns for Indigenous, Human, Environmental, and Social Rights in Mexico. The closest Mexican Embassy to Cincinnati is in Detroit.
4. You can contact US Government, Director Office of Mexican Affairs - John Dawson @ (202) 647-8113 (tele) or (202) 647-5752 (fax).
5. You can write the Mexican President at: Presidente de la Republica - Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon at email@example.com
6. You can write The Governor of Chiapas - Roberto Albores Guillen at firstname.lastname@example.org
7. You can write The UNITED NATIONS OFFICE IN MEXICO at email@example.com
8. You can educate yourself on this issue more. There are a few good books and reports out there. The Chiapas Rebellion by Philip L. Russell, Basta by George A. Collier, Camino a la masacreby Centro de Derechos Humanos/ Fray Bartolome de Las Casas, Terror in Chiapaswhich appeared in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (March/April '98) by Alejandro Nadal, Militarization and Violence in Chiapas by CONPAZ, Fray Bartolome de Las Casas, and Coalition of Civil Organizations for Democracy (Convergencia), We will not forget by Fray Bartolome de Las Casas, Rebellion from the Roots by John Ross, First World, HA HA HA! edited by Elaine Katzenberger, Chiapas: Challenging History by Akwe:kon Journal (Summer 1994), and Democracy in Mexico by Dan La Botz. There are many more if one searches for them. There are also some great videos : Lacandona : The Zapatistas and Rainforest of Chiapas, Mexico by ACERCA, Todos Somos Marcos, 6th Sun, Communique, Chiapas : A shot heard around the world, Zapatista Women, Marcos : World History. Those are just a few of the one's that we know of. The webpages listed at the beginning of the message also give really good insight into the ideals, issues, and culture of the Zapatista Rebellion.
9. And of course, another great contribution is funds or donations. There are always caravans going back and forth to Chiapas, and your monetary or food donations would be welcomed. Also donations are needed for the many organizations (the NCDM, the Mexico Solidarity Network, Pastors for Peace, Accion Zapatista, Chiapas School Construction Team, the Cincinnati Zapatista Coaltion, etc) that are working for justice in Chiapas, most of them are volunteer run and in great need of funds.
"Everything for Everyone, Nothing for Us!" - EZLN slogan
Thank You for reading this special Zapatista Solidarity Update. If you have any questions, concerns, ideas, or comments please feel free to contact us here at the CZC at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 513.232.0362.
Viva Zapata y Vivan Los Zapatistas!
May 14, 2000
From The Milwaukee Pledge of Resistance
Again we ask you to contact your elected officials in Congress and the White House to express your concern over the Mexican government's, as yet, low intensity warfare against indigenous Mayans who wish their constitutional rights restored. Part of the government strategy has been to stage ambushes on some of their own people, then blame the Zapatistas. The people ask only to be left alone in their autonomous villages formed in accord with the San Andres agreement signed by the government. The build-up for a major offensive continues, as the following excerpt from a zapatista message details:
"WE ARE EXCEEDINGLY CONCERNED about the current situation in the town of Polhó, Autonomous Municipality of San Pedro Chenalhó, with the enormous deployment of police-military forces which the State and Federal Governments have made in the region of Los Altos. In addition to this being a clear provocation of the ZAPATISTA ARMY OF NATIONAL LIBERATION, it also risks - as, perhaps, the last card to be played by the Zedillo administration - closing the path of dialogue and of a JUST AND DIGNIFIED PEACE in our Nation. We would like to remind you that the town of Polhó is a place of refuge for more than 8000 displaced (who are already existing in conditions of extreme poverty, having lost everything, their land, shelter and freedom, because of constant threats from paramilitary groups), the very ones who had to be displaced as a consequence of the militarization and paramilitarization in the region of Los Altos and following the ACTEAL massacre. And now, today, because of the lack of security due to the LOW INTENSITY AND COUNTERINSURGENCY WAR being waged by the Federal and State governments, they are unable to return to their communities of origin. Along these same lines is the threat to the AUTONOM=CDA of the Chiapaneco Peoples, since the Autonomous Council of San Pedro Chenalhó is being accused by the Coordinator for Dialogue in Chiapas, Emilio Rabasa Gamboa, and by the State Attorney General, of protecting those purportedly responsible for the alleged ambushes.
MORE WORRISOME STILL, yesterday, May 10, hundreds of FEDERAL PREVENTIVE POLICE (PFP) arrived in our State..."
By Pilar Franco
May 8, 2000
MEXICO CITY, May 8 (IPS) -- Three Mexican indigenous people were killed and three others injured, including a young girl, in a weekend ambush that has deepened tensions in the impoverished southeastern state of Chiapas.
Four masked civilians armed with rifles intercepted and fired on a vehicle carrying a group of Tzotzile Indians as they travelled through the Tzanembolom community of the Chenalho municipality Sunday.
The attack resulted in the deaths of Carmen Gomez, 33, Jos Luis Gomez, 20, and Antonio Lopez, 18. Mariano Gomez, Julio Lopez and six-year-old Magdalena Gomez suffered gunshot wounds and were taken to a medical centre in San Cristobal de las Casas for treatment.
The incident "shows that the dismantling of paramilitary organisations in Chiapas can no longer be delayed," Salvador Tinajero, attorney for the non-governmental Mexican Human Rights Defence Commission, told IPS Monday.
The Chiapas attorney-general's office gathered some 300 police officers to mount a search operation in the surrounding communities to track down the assassins.
Likewise, the army mobilised 200 troops in the area, considered a stronghold of the insurgent Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), which took up arms Jan. 1, 1994 to fight for the rights of Mexico's indigenous peoples.
The Zapatista forces, which engaged in a battle against the Mexican army for just 12 days in 1994, after which a truce was declared, continue under siege, reportedly surrounded by as many as 40,000 government soldiers in the Chiapas mountains.
Subcommander Marcos, leader of the EZLN, has kept silent in response to the Mexican government's invitation to dialogue. The rebels accuse the government of failing to comply with the San Andrs Accords on indigenous rights and respect for native cultures, signed by both sides three and a half years ago.
The government claims the rebels are intransigent and have no interest in reaching a peace agreement, while the EZLN charges that the government continues to wage "low-intensity warfare" against it and the indigenous peoples of Chiapas.
Missions of foreign observers visiting Chiapas in the past few years have called on the Ernesto Zedillo administration to put an end to the activity of irregular armed groups and reduce the number of soldiers posted in the state, in order to pave the way for peace.
Just five km from the site of Sunday's attack, Roman Catholic bishop Felipe Arizmendi made his first pastoral visit to the region since he assumed his position, one week ago, as head of the San Cristobal de las Casas diocese, which administers to this region.
Arizmendi, considered a moderate, expressed his grief for the bloody incident, but affirmed that instability and lack of safety are worse in other parts of the country. "One can live more peacefully in Chiapas than in Mexico City," he said.
Arizmendi succeeded bishop Samuel Ruiz, who served the area for 40 years as a proponent of Liberation Theology, which emphasises compassion and the struggle by the poor against oppressors as they seek a better life in the here and now, as well as freedom and economic justice. Ruiz's teachings won him criticism from both the Mexican government and Pope John Paul II.
This latest tragic chapter in the lives of the Chiapas indigenous people occurred just three weeks after the attorney-general's office announced the creation of a special force to investigate the actions of paramilitary groups in Chiapas.
The new unit, comprised of 40 special agents, will make every effort to solve crimes, bring the perpetrators to justice, and prevent further criminal activity, according to assistant attorney- general Jos Luis Ramos.
Non-governmental human rights organisations, however, maintain that the official counterinsurgency policy is based on the activities of these paramilitary groups, who the activists blame for the deaths of hundreds of indigenous peoples over the last few years.
On Dec. 22, 1997, paramilitaries assassinated 45 indigenous people in Acteal, a municipality of Chenalho, where police at the time failed to take action on repeated reports that the armed civilian groups were active in the area.
Sunday's events at Tzanembolom "demonstrate the zero preventive capacity, not just of the new force created by the attorney- general's office, but also of the police when it comes to the power of crime" in Chiapas, maintained Tinajero.
After the incident at Acteal over two years ago, the army "invaded Chenalho in order to protect the security of the indigenous communities, according to government statements (...) but now this happens," said the human rights lawyer.
This recent attack against indigenous people -- who make up approximately 10 percent of the nation's population of 100 million -- "is especially worrisome because it adds another element of tension to the current political climate, already stressed by the change of bishop and the elections for governor" this year, said Tinajero.
"The situation in Chiapas is not showing signs of improvement," warned
Tinajero. "On the contrary, incidents occur that are increasingly beyond
the government's control."
Nizkor Int. Human Rights Team
Derechos Human Rights
March 16, 2000
CHIAPAS BRIEF REPORT: UN HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS EXPRESSES CONCERN FOR THE EXCESSIVE MILITARIZATION IN CHIAPAS.
The situation on the ground in Chiapas remained tense and often violent in recent months. Meanwhile political developments both within and outside the region diminished hopes that significant progress toward peace would be achieved before President Zedillo's term ends in December.
During a January trip to Europe, President Zedillo made a series of startlingly frank statements disparaging the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation), discounting its importance in the resolution of the problems in Chiapas, and somewhat ominously asserting that the military offensive he unleashed in February 1995 "succeeded in getting them to sit down to talk."
On December 30, the Vatican announced the transfer of Coadjutor Bishop Raul Vera from San Cristobal de Las Casas to Saltillo in northern Mexico. Bishop Samuel Ruiz submitted his resignation in November, but it has not yet been accepted by the Vatican, and no successor has been named. The transfer of Bishop Vera, who had been in line to succeed Bishop Ruiz, and the resultant uncertainty raised fears about the effect on peace prospects and on the security of thousands of church workers, religious and lay, who have felt somewhat protected by the extensive influence of the diocese under Bishop Ruiz.
The claim of the Papal Nuncio that the decision was based on "purely ecclesiastical reasons" stretched credulity. It is true that for years the pastoral practice in the diocese has been cause for concern within some circles in the Vatican and that Bishop Vera gave every indication of continuing the existing pastoral plan. At the same time, the decision to remove Vera was highly unusual. It appears likely that it also rested on the Vatican's interest in improving relations with the Mexican government, for whom Bishop Ruiz has long been considered a political obstacle.
Meanwhile, several communities experienced outbreaks of violence between pro-government and pro-Zapatista groups. In the county of Chilon, 52 families were displaced from their homes by a paramilitary group. The constant military pressure on the indigenous communities was augmented by the arrival of hundreds of members of a new security force, the Federal Preventive Police (part of the Interior Ministry).
Criminal cases related to the 1997 Acteal massacre continued to wind their way through the judicial process. Two state government officials were sentenced to six years each for their roles, one of the accused intellectual authors of the crime was sentenced to 35 years, while 24 Indians who had previously been sentenced to 35 years had their sentences revoked, pending further review. In December, 2000 members of the Bees, the group that was the target of the massacre, staged a ilgrimage in the county of Chenalho, offering symbols of peace at military bases and checkpoints.
National elections are scheduled for July 2 while elections for governor of Chiapas will take place August 20. Regardless of their outcome, the elections represent an element of uncertainty and instability, especially in the explosive context of Chiapas.
With the opposition split between the center-right PAN (National Action Party) and the center-left opposition coalition led by the PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution), the ruling PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) is well placed to win the presidential elections. In Chiapas, the
opposition has united behind the candidacy of PRI dissident, Senator Pablo Salazar. He would appear to have a strong chance of winning, but some analysts question whether such an opposition victory would be allowed to stand. The challenging electoral conditions in Chiapas underscore the importance of a strong election observation effort.
In an increasingly polarized and tense situation, where the space for negotiation has nearly disappeared, opting for a military solution remains a possibility. The government may decide to take advantage of the interregnum (between the July elections and the transfer of power in December) in order to launch a well-targeted offensive in Chiapas. On the other side, the EZLN, faced with the prolonged stalemate in the peace process, may elect to take up arms once again. While neither option appears reasonable or probable, neither can they be discounted.
The government's campaign against international observers continued. During the first five weeks of the year, 60 foreigners received citations accusing them of violating Mexican law.
In a broad swipe at non-governmental organizations, President Zedillo asserted, "We do not need the self-nominated representatives of civil society, now called non-governmental organizations, to speak in the name of the poor of the developing countries."
Meanwhile the drumbeat of international criticism of Mexico's human rights record continued. During her November visit to Mexico, Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed various concerns, including the excessive militarization in Chiapas. At the conclusion of her February visit to Mexico, the President of the UN Working Group on Indian Peoples, Erika Irene Daes, called on the Mexican government to comply with the San Andres Accords which it signed four years ago. Also in February, UN Special Rapporteur for Extra-Judicial Executions, Asma Jahangir, presented a report on her July 1999 visit. Among her conclusions: in Mexico, federal and local governments, the army, paramilitary groups, and armed opposition groups execute innocent people throughout the country, especially in Chiapas and Guerrero; in cases such as the killings in Acteal and El Bosque (Chiapas), all the intellectual and material authors have not been captured; human rights defenders receive little protection and work in a climate of violence.
On the economic front, in November representatives of Mexico and the European Union signed a far-reaching trade agreement. While the agreement must still be ratified by the Mexican Senate and the individual EU members, it represents a major step for the free trade policy of the Zedillo administration. Not much concrete information has been presented about its possible impact on Mexican workers and peasants nor has it benefited from significant public debate. The treaty includes a clause requiring respect for human rights and democracy. However it does not include a clear mechanism for evaluating compliance.
1. Urge the Zedillo administration to: - order a substantial reduction of the Army presence in the conflict areas in Chiapas and insure that the Army respects the rights and freedoms of citizens as an authentic and concrete sign of a will to dialogue; - recognize and respect the efforts of national and international human rights workers and international observers whose work offers substantial support to the peace process.
2. Urge Chiapas Governor Roberto Albores Guill�n to: - cease operations in already highly conflictive areas that harass indigenous communities and opposition organizations.
3. Urge the Mexican Senate to: - approve the COCOPA legislative proposal on Indigenous Rights and Culture, placing the interests of peace above partisan politics.
4. Circulate information, such as this Report, on the situation in Chiapas.
Lic. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon
Gobernador de Chiapas
Palacio de Gobierno
Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas
Fax: (+52) (961) 20917
El Senado de la Republica
Comision de Concordia y Pacificacion
Paseo de la Reforma, 10, piso 17
06030 Mexico, DF - Mexico
Fax: (+52) (5) 140 3288
[Source: SIPAZ Report - March 2000 - Vol. V, No. 1]
Information is an Urgent Solidarity service edited and disseminated by Nizkor International Human Rights Team. Nizkor is a member of the Peace and Justice Service-Europe (Serpaj), Derechos Human Rights (USA) and GILC (Global Internet Liberty Campaign).
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