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Current and Past Actions and Events

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This page gives a summary of some of the actions and events undertaken and letters sent by the UK Zapatista Solidarity Network.

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Activists Gatecrash BP-Sponsored Day Of The Dead Event At British Museum

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Last night, 50 Latin American and British activists joined together to mount a highly visual performance-protest during the British Museum’s ‘Day of the Dead’ festival. The evening event was co-sponsored by BP and the Mexican government, and campaigners accuse the museum of playing host to a ‘deadly partnership’ which is covering up a host of human rights and environmental abuses.

Six sinister characters, with deathly “Day of the Dead” painted faces, played the roles of BP and the Mexican government, striking dirty deals and stamping out dissent. Meanwhile, other performers created a “living shrine” to celebrate the communities fighting back against destructive oil projects and state repression in Mexico.

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The performance was repeated around the museum, and at one point a group of campaigners invaded the Museum’s official stage with banners criticising BP and the Mexican government. The invasion received loud cheers and applause from the audience and visible support from the official performers, who laid one of the group’s banners out on the stage before it was removed by museum staff. Museum security were eventually forced to allow the rebel performance to happen beside the stage in its own agreed time slot, without interruption from the sound system or the scheduled entertainment.

The performers remained in the Museum until closing time, with the deathly BP characters roaming the space and interacting with Museum visitors. Campaigners distributed 1,000 flyers and found overwhelming support from the public.

The evening-long protest-performance aimed to embarrass BP as it attempts to sell itself to Mexican officials and the public. It was co-organised by the London Mexico Solidarity and BP or not BP? [1] and highlighted BP’s environmental destruction, human rights abuses and lobbying against climate action. It also accused the Mexican government of trying to distract attention from human rights abuses – including the disappearance a year ago of 43 students – and of co-opting arts and culture to attract foreign investors to its newly-privatised oil and gas sector.

A member of London Mexico Solidarity who took part in the performance said, “Tonight we exposed the reality of the dirty relationship between BP, the Mexican Government and the British Museum. We stood in solidarity with the many thousands of people in Mexico who are fighting back against destructive oil and gas projects and state repression.”

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Jess Worth of BP or not BP? said, “The audience response to our stage invasion should leave the Museum in no doubt that BP is a deeply unpopular sponsor, and the Mexican government partnership is problematic, given its track record on human rights. It’s time the Museum listened to its visitors and ditched these dodgy partnerships.”

The British Museum event – part of a four-day Days of the Dead celebration – is part of the Dual Year of UK and Mexico 2015, ‘a year-long celebration of cultural, educational and business exchange’ between the two nations.

BP is currently trying to dramatically increase its access to Mexico’s oil and gas [2], in particular more deepwater wells in the Gulf of Mexico, despite the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon disaster which has polluted Mexico’s waters and coastline. As Mexico recovers from Hurricane Patricia – the strongest hurricane ever recorded – the country is also already feeling the effects of climate change caused by burning fossil fuels.

The British Museum is coming under increasing pressure over its 5-year sponsorship deal with BP. It is due to decide whether to renew the deal over the next few months, and protest performances regularly disrupt the museum.

London-Mexico Solidarity, BP or not BP?Movimiento Jaguar Despierto – MJDLondon Palestine Action

#MXUK2015 #UKMX2015

http://www.londonmexicosolidarity.org/content/activists-gatecrash-bp-sponsored-day-dead-event-british-museum-press-release

 

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Workshop  held at the London Anarchist Bookfair


on Saturday 24th October 2015 at Ground Floor F004, Central Saint Martin’s, University of the Arts London, 1 Granary Square, London N1C 4AA

 

Zapatistas: The Struggle against Dispossession

The autonomous Zapatista communities in Chiapas and those who are in solidarity with them struggle against dispossession, often because of the interest that national and transnational companies and corporations take in their land. The UK Zapatista Solidarity network gives an update on the situation of the autonomous Zapatista communities and on important events of the last year such as the seminar for critical thinking in Chiapas. We also look at ways in which we can connect the struggles against dispossession in different parts of the world among those in solidarity with the Zapatista struggle.

For further information see http://anarchistbookfair.org.uk/



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Ayotzinapa Solidarity In Edinburgh, Scotland

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On Friday 25th September around 60 people crammed into the Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh  to watch a screening of the documentary: ‘Ayotzinapa: Chronicle of a State Crime.’ Another 30 people couldn’t get in, so a second screening has been arranged for Friday.

On the 26th around 30 people participated in a demo/ gathering in Edinburgh city centre, demanding the safe return of the 43 students disappeared from Ayotzinapa, with banners, placards, a stall and a petition. They distributed around 400 leaflets.

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 London Mexico Solidarity: One Year After We Are Still Fighting.

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On September 26th 2014 students from the teacher-training college of Ayotzinapa, in Guerrero, Mexico, were attacked by police forces whilst being monitored by intelligence agencies of the Mexican army and the federal police. Three students and three bystanders were killed, 40 students were injured and 43 disappeared by the police.

In early September 2015, almost one year later, an international group of independent experts of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights rejected the investigation of the Mexican government into the attack and disappearance of the students, confirming that the 43 students are still disappeared and that the official investigation has to be refocused to include the participation of State agents in the attack and their active role preventing the search for the truth, as a central element.

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One year after we still demand the return of the 43 students alive, truth and justice, as well as punishment for those responsible for the attack and for the failures in the investigation. Come along to our activities and help us spread the voice of the 43, their relatives and the victims of disappearance in Mexico, which on the last count are around 30 000 people in the last ten years in the context of the so-called “war on drugs”.

This September 26 2015, one year after the attack, around 150 people gathered to claim for justice outside the Mexican embassy to the UK. Representatives from different campaigns and people in solidarity expressed their concerns regarding Mexico’s human rights crisis and the role the of international community.

Thanks to National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts Marxist Student Federation National Union of Teachers Campaign Against Arms TradeAmnesty International London Palestine Action @Spanish and Latin American Poets and Writers London, London-Chile SolidarityMovimiento Micaela Bastidas-UK Yosoy132Londres and JusticeMexicoNow for your support!

Words and Silence: One year after the forceful disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico. Demonstration in London before the Mexican Embassy. September 26, 2015.

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Ayotzinapa In London! EuroCaravan43

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Omar Garcia, an Ayotzinapa student who survived the Iguala police attack on September 26, 2014

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Final stop for EuroCaravana 43 in London

Today in London marked the final stop on a month-long tour for the EuroCaravana43. The caravan was composed of Ayotzinapa student Omar García, who survived the brutal police attack in Iguala on 26 September 2014, human rights defender Roman Hernández from NGO Tlachinollan and Eleucadio Ortega, father of one of the 43 missing students.

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Eleucadio Ortega (left), father of disappeared student Mauricio Ortega Valerio

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The trio spent the day in meetings with human rights organisations, grassroots collectives and Mexican solidarity groups from across the UK. They were keen to not only share their stories, but to also make lasting connections with local groups struggling against similar forces.

Ortega spoke of the hardships the families of the 43 disappeared students have faced, as many have given up work in order to search for their children. He poignantly described how he always encouraged his son to study hard, so that he could avoid living the hard life of a peasant farmer. Hernández highlighted the intense surveillance and victimisation human rights defenders in Mexico face from the state.

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Roman Hernandez from the Guerrero-based Tlachinollan Human Rights Center speaks in front of a packed room of grassroots collectives in London.

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“We did not come here to cry,” García declared to the gathered crowd. Instead, he countered, they had come to continue the fight and to make connections in this struggle. García called for an inclusive social movement, in which everyone who wants to participate is welcome. He said he has been touched by the number of first-time protesters who have taken to the streets in support of Ayotzinapa.

Many UK-based collectives turned out to meet the caravan in a show of solidarity. The day ended with a mass demonstration at UCL’s square, where supporters braved the cold and rain to chime in with the rallying cry – “You took them alive! We want them alive!”

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The day culminated in a demonstration in the main square of a central London university.

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https://www.facebook.com/londonmexicosolidarity

See also: http://www.telesurtv.net/english/multimedia/Ayotzinapa-Families-in-UK-Europe-Shares-Blame-for-Disappeared-20150519-0044.html

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Polar Bears Against Airport Expansion Visit Foster + Partners In London

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This morning polar bears from Plane Stupid, Grow Heathrow and London Mexico Solidarity visited the headquarters of Foster + Partners in London to express concern about airport expansion and destruction of the world humans and polar bears share.

From Heathrow to Atenco we say NO to airport expansion and yes to a life-sustaining society for all.

Foster + Partners are the architectural firm contracted to build the new Mexico City airport which if it goes ahead will displace the rural
communities in the area, and will cause a major ecological disaster for the valley of Mexico.

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The People’s Front in Defense of the land ( Atenco FPDT )
have been mobilising since 2001 against the project of a new airport, and will continue to do so. And the movement grows.

Our lives, our land are not for sale!

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Protests In London 3rd March Against The Visit Of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto To The UK

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 Peña Nieto You Are Not Welcome Here: 3 Days Of Continuous Protests And Actions Denouncing The Human Rights Crisis In Mexico

The President of Mexico,  Enrique Peña Nieto and his wife  Angélica Rivera de Peña, are paying a state visit to the United Kingdom as guests of The Queen. The three-day State Visit is from 3rd to 5th March 2015. During their visit, the President and Señora Rivera will stay at Buckingham Palace.

Let everyone know about the human rights abuses in Mexico! Those who lie, kill and torture are not welcome!

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DOWNING STREET 4 pm to 7 pm TUESDAY 3rd MARCH!!

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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

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Letter To The World Festival Of Resistances And Rebellions From The UK Zapatista Solidarity Network

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United Kingdom, December 29, 2014

Compañeras and compañeros of the EZLN, the CNI, the Sixth and the Free Media

Although we are not there with you now, we would like to send a few words from the UK. We are men and women of different groups who accompany and are brothers and sisters with the struggle for humanity and life that has long since been walking in the mountains of south-east Mexico.

In this corner of the world we inhabit, we also see that the War of capitalism continues to advance through exploitation, plunder, contempt and repression. Here capitalism continues to dismantle what remains of the state, cutting basic public services like health and education. At the same time, the state security apparatus tightens its control over the lives of the population through sophisticated surveillance systems that monitor our movements at work, home, the street and the net. We see that the threat of terrorism is used as a flag to continue restricting our freedoms and fuelling the war industry. And in a fiction of consumerism, many live thinking that it is almost impossible to organize and resist.

And here the light of rebellion and resistance comes to us now in this World Festival. Although we could not be there to listen and share with you, we feel it is important to send you a word from where we are, so you know that despite the distance, we are accompanying you in your daily resistance. We want to address in particular the fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, compañeros and compañeras of Ayotzinapa. We humbly wish to say again to you that you are not alone, that we too are still waiting for the 43 students disappeared by the Mexican State, and we never tire of demanding their appearance alive. Alexander Mora, Julio Cesar Mondragon and the other compañeros from Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Normal school who have been murdered since 2011 are present with us because they are dignified seed. The bad government does not deceive us, we know that the three levels are responsible for all this suffering and pain. We know that this is a criminal government, and that that this mafia reaches the centres of financial power that we have here, as in the City of London. In our anger and outrage over the disappearance of our compañeros from Ayotzinapa we have met with others in the street and we are also weaving with creativity and persistence this struggle against forgetting. And so we continue: learning, walking, resisting and dreaming.

We send you a very big embrace from the UK.

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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

UK Zapatista Learning and Teaching Collective

Zapatista Solidarity Group – Essex

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December, 2014

Letter to celebrate ten years of dignified struggle: Movement for Justice in El Barrio

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To our dear compañer@s of Movement for Justice in El Barrio, New York

From our small corner of the world, the UK Zapatista Solidarity Network humbly sends you our sincere congratulations on the completion of ten years of dignified struggle in favour of those from below, the marginalised, neglected and forgotten of the earth, those suffering multiple forms of discrimination and oppression. We have been profoundly inspired by your dedication and commitment, by your creativity and imagination, and by your love and solidarity.

The heart of your struggle has been with the organised migrants, mainly women, tenants of El Barrio, struggling against gentrification and displacement to achieve dignified housing for themselves, their families and neighbours. In doing so, they have forged a strong and supportive community and built a culture of resistance, and not one tenant has been displaced.

It has been an honour for us to work beside you in support of your international campaigns. You have reached out to other dignified struggles, not only in your beloved native home of Mexico, but also in countries such as South Africa and India. In 2008 you visited us in Europe as part of the International Campaign in Defence of El Barrio. We have admired your dignity, your politics of listening and learning, your sense of service and obligation to others, and your persistence and dedication to the liberation of political prisoners and to solidarity with repressed communities such as San Marcos Avilés and San Sebastián Bachajón.

Movement for Justice in El Barrio is a reference point throughout the world, and a shining example of urban Zapatismo. You have learned from our Zapatista compañer@s and applied their forms of struggle within your own context. And you have walked beside them, and the adherents to the Sexta, on the long road towards autonomy, liberation, social justice, and another world.

Thank you, compas

We send you an embrace of admiration and respect

Towards the next ten years!

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

UK Zapatista Learning and Teaching Collective

Zapatista Solidarity Group – Essex

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November 28th, 2014

From Mexico To The UK: Fuelling Outrage

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Text: Alister Guerrero and Katia Valenzuela Fuentes / pictures: Arielle Stern

The persistence of actions of solidarity with Mexico abroad has gradually increased and the UK has been no exception. Those who have come together from this area in various acts of dissemination and denunciation, seem to be aligned with Mexico’s current process, where the collective organization of pain and indignation seems to be the next step in the fight against “corruption, impunity, authoritarianism and decomposition of the political class” in Mexico, as César Enrique Pineda says in his November 2014 article.

On Wednesday 19 November, thousands of British students took to the streets of London to demand free education and a halt to the austerity policies promoted by the government, giving life to the massive student protest underway in Britain since 2010. A contingent of about 50 people joined the march who gave themselves the task, with shouts, banners, flyers and Mexican flags to spread information about the current crisis in Mexico, demanding justice and the appearance alive of the 43 student teachers from Ayotzinapa who are still missing.

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After the march, the English students took the microphone and enabled a spokesperson from for the movement of Mexicans in London to talk about the terrible situation facing the country. Also, Member of Parliament Jeremy Corbyn, who had filed a motion in the British parliament to denounce the human rights crisis that exists in Mexico, also expressed solidarity with the missing students and called on the world to look to see and to witness what is happening in Mexico, emphasizing the importance of international solidarity.

The Ayotzinapa case has become a symbol of the multiple and systematic human rights violations that have been perpetrated with impunity in Mexico under the protection of government institutions. It has also sparked the outrage and anger of many Mexicans who, even from other parts of the planet, have decided to speak out, and with an ‘enough is enough’ [«ya basta»], from the bottom of their heart, denounce before national and international public opinion the role and responsibility of the Mexican state in the reproduction of violence and injustice in the country.

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What happened in England is an example of this, since the actions of solidarity with Ayotzinapa started cautiously with a small number of demonstrators. However, week after week, more people moved by the Mexican crisis have joined the protests and have joined spaces of coordination spaces of solidarity with Mexico in cities like London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Sheffield, among others. Today, after two months of struggle, the actions are multiplying, between letters to and to the embassy, leafleting on the streets, talks and calls to different marches and rallies of support from the Mexican and foreign community in the UK  for the struggle for justice and dignity in Mexico.

In an interview with SubVersiones, a member of the London-Mexico Solidarity group highlights the fact that Mexicans abroad without prior political experience are interested in the national situation, making it even more necessary to consider coordinated forms of participation and solidarity from outside Mexico:

… In Mexico each time they are responding in a more organized way (…) and here also we are trying to work in coordination with organizations that already exist and to be open to more people integrating into any activity of solidarity with Mexico (…) now there are many people who have never participated in anything political that are approaching, wanting to do something, hence the importance that there are organizations abroad to work in collaboration.

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As Monica Maristain said, “Mexico is the talk of the world”. And it is a Mexico “… infamous for the worst reasons. It is crying inside, it cries out and the straw that broke the camel’s back is, for many, the disappearance of the 43 normal school students.” But unfortunately, the 43 are just the tip of a continental iceberg of deaths and disappearances which remain hidden in our funerary country. Yesterday in London, now in Mexico and the world, we again see the faces of the normal school students, and remember that through their eyes and their struggle, they have humanized the horror, they have fuelled our indignation, and. without planning it, they have watered with courage the seeds of a society which in unison is demanding justice.

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Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

http://subversiones.org/archivos/109733

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UK In Solidarity With Ayotzinapa November 5th, 2014

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5th November Global Day of Action for Ayotzinapa Students

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Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group held a solidarity stall with the students of Ayotzinapa for 2 hours in central Edinburgh on 5th November, as part of the Global Day of Action. Around 7-8 people participated in the stall on Middle Meadow Walk, near Edinburgh University, displaying placards and distributing over 300 leaflets.

Passers-by stopped to sign letters to the Mexican Ambassador and also left their e mails to stay in touch with future activities. We noticed that compared to the previous stall on 22 October more people now seemed aware of the situation, and many expressed their outrage and concern.

The 43 students from Aytotzinapa in Guerrero remain missing. They have not been seen since 26th September, when police shot dead 3 students and also killed 3 passers-by.

In Mexico rallies and marches demanding the safe return of the students are happening on a daily basis throughout the country. A national strike has been called for 20th November.

Also on 5th November protestors gathered at the Mexican Embassy in London and sites of other solidarity activities included Sussex and Oxford.

A long march of students and parents demanding justice for the missing 43 students that departed from the town of Iguala, site of the attack and disappearance of the students, is due to arrive in Mexico City on Sunday. This contingent of marchers is organized under the slogan “#43×43 Not one more disappeared” and is part of protests across the country that are demanding the missing students be returned alive.

131 organizations, among them student organizations, trade unions, and grassroots groups have called for a national strike on November 20 of this year. The call was made during the rally held on 5th November in the Mexican capital of Mexico City to demand justice for the missing 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teacher’s school.

Regular updates at http://dorsetchiapassolidarity.wordpress.com/

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Solidarity From Scotland

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On the 22nd October a Global Day of Action in solidarity with the disappeared students in Iguala was held worldwide. The Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group held an information stall in Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, in order to raise awareness and ask for action local actionand to demand justice from the Mexican government.

Matias Viotti interviewed one of the organisers for this event, Mike Cropley, in order to find out more about the Scottish solidarity campaign. Mike stated that Amnesty International has launched an “urgent action” on this awful situation. According to this group the British and the Scottish Government should put pressure on the Mexican Government by “making demands on the Mexican Ambassador to the UK, and the Mexican government calling for the safe return of the “disappeared” students, and asking for justice for the six people killed in Iguala.”

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The solidarity group is strongly concerned about the disappearance of the students and keeps in touch with different local groups in Mexico, translating and spreading the word of any breaking news on this issue.Mike says: “We need to respond to any more calls for international action, and continue to spread the news about what has happened to the students from Ayotzinapa, and how they need our solidarity […] the movement continues to be very strong and groups of protesters blockaded  streets in Mexico City on 23rd October”.

http://cosmopolitascotland.org/crimes-humanity-mexico-solidarity-groups-ask-support-people-scotland/

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Letter to the Embassy November 2014

London, United Kingdom, 2 November 2014

Mexican Embassy in London
42 Hertford Street Mayfair
London W1J 7JR
United Kingdom

Ambassador Diego Gómez Pickering,
Regarding the letter that we handed in on October 2nd of this year to the Consul Aníbal Gómez Toledo, concerning the 43 students that are, until the present date, disappeared, the 6 further people murdered and the 20 people wounded between the 26th and 27th of September in Iguala, Guerrero, we wish to inform you that, already, one month has passed without any response on your part.

During our visit to the Embassy, the Consul Gómez Toledo assured us that it is a constitutional right to obtain a response from you. Nonetheless, we have received only three emails containing similar information, which we understand as an automized format that simply lists supposed actions that the government of Mexico is taking for the clarification of the events that have taken place. At no point do these emails respond to the specific questions in our letter; on the contrary, they only attempt to deviate attention away from the fundamental problem that we highlight: the evident involvement of the Mexican government in these crimes.

In your emails, figures are provided of a number of detained police officers who were formally sent to prison, and more that were interrogated; nonetheless, no mention is made of the chain of orders that must have been involved for this killing and kidnapping of students to have happened with such absolute impunity. The criminal police operatives must necessarily have acted with the assurance that their superiors would protect them. Faced with this situation, what guarantees does the government offer that an act of such atrocious violence as this will not happen again?

As we expressed in our previous letter, enforced disappearances are a crime against humanity that is committed every day, until the whereabouts of the victim are revealed; that is, enforced disappearance is a continuous crime that the Mexican government has been committing since 1969, when the first enforced disappearances are noted and denounced, and which it perpetuates today with new disappearances. Furthermore, the government has acted to evade the international search protocols in the case of the 43 disappeared normalistas, in which it is stipulated that the first strategy in the search should be the search for life. Decades ago, the Mexican government should have guaranteed the right that this crime not be repeated, and it has failed to do so.
It concerns us enormously that recent news from the Normal Rural de Ayotzinapa should have to do with the fact that the Mexican State is seeking to criminalize the very students that have disappeared, absurdly trying to link them with organized crime. We know that the students are not criminals; they are young people with scarce resources who have decided to persevere with their studies to then be teachers of the most needed people in Mexico. We know this, and so too do the people that, from all corners of the planet, have demonstrated for the life of the 43 disappeared normalistas. The strategy of victimizing them and of blaming organized crime will fail, since the culpable party for their disappearance is the State itself.

In recent weeks, numerous organizations and individuals of diverse nationalities who live in the United Kingdom have approached us to ask us what is happening in Mexico. As we do, they also ask themselves how it is that in a supposedly democratic country, 43 young people may be disappeared, more than 20 wounded, and 6 murdered, by the police. We have had to explain to them that this happens in a country in which the government works not for the people, but for its own interests, and in which the lives of the most poor mean little for those in power; that this crime is possible in a country whose federal institutions have created an atmosphere of absolute impunity concerning violations of human rights.

As we told you in the letter that we handed to the Consul one month ago, this is a historic moment. The days that have passed since the disappearance of the 43 normalista students have proven us right. Thousands of people in Mexico, and in the lengths and breadths of the Earth, have demonstrated their outrage at what is happening in Mexico. Today, the eyes of the world are on the government for which you work. Today, that government can present an example to the world, returning alive those 43 disappeared students, judging and punishing the chain of command responsible for these crimes, guaranteeing the protection of all those people against enforced disappearance of people. Each day that the Mexican government spends manufacturing an image of a Mexico in peace and security, without treating the problems at their roots, is one day more that the government continues violating human rights.

In our previous letter we asked you: What will you do, as representative of the government, to ensure that Mexico stops violating human rights and effectively becomes in reality the country whose image you sell to potential investors? We hope that, this time, you do not avoid the topic, and provide us with a response.
Awaiting your reply,

UK Zapatista Solidarity Network:
Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group
Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group
Kiptik (Bristol)
London Mexico Solidarity Group
Manchester Zapatista Collective
UK Zapatista Learning and Teaching Collective
UK Zapatista Translation Service
Zapatista Solidarity Group – Essex
YoSoy132London
correo@londonmexicosolidarity.org

Embamex Reino Unido

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2nd November. 2014

Honouring The Dead On The Day Of The Dead In London

1514660_868501799856716_2423051803087813251_n (1)Given the human rights crisis that exists in Mexico, where hundreds of thousands are dead because of the context of violence propitiated by the war on drugs, journalists and human rights defenders have been killed, mass graves are found every day, and the recent murder of three students by the local police in Iguala (southwest Mexico), a group of young people from different nationalities want to pay homage to the dead the government wants to hide, to all the dead that the government do not pay tribute to, to all those who still await justice.

In the gallery Bargehouse, we held signs remembering students killed, victims of femicide, unidentified bodies in mass graves, children killed by police, journalists killed, human rights defenders killed. We talked about the situation that exists in Mexico and we read a poem. It was, thus, a homage to those the government denies a homage, to those that the government forgets and the Mexican society 1512557_868500723190157_8149482402204497397_nremembers every day, because they have relatives, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters; because they have siblings and friends.

After our action in front of the altar, we made visible our dead through the four floors of the gallery. In a space dedicated to remembering the loved ones, some people who attended the exhibition before us had already written sentences about Ayotzinapa and the missing students, always demanding their alive presentation.

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23rd October, 2014

Solidarity With Ayotzinapa In Manchester, England

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October 23, 2014, at Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester Centre, United Kingdom. A group of 25 people met. We as  Mexicans and non-Mexicans, students and non- students, demand justice for our comrades abducted by the Mexican state.

We cried out each name of the 43 missing comrades and we demanded their appearance was imposed in life. Then we took a Solidarity photograph as a sign of our indignation, worthy rage and solidarity with the families and friends of the missing, the murdered, the comrade in a coma and those injured.
From Manchester, UK, We send Solidarity greeting to Ayotzinapa students, also to all normalistas and teachers part of CNTE.
The event was organized by Colectivo Zapatista Manchester, Armadillo Productions in collaboration with students and people shocked for this situation.
Photographs: Manchester Zapatista Collective and Armadillo Productions.

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Solidarity With Ayotzinapa In London

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One by one we named the disappeared students. Although we are far from Mexico, today we met up for the fourth time in solidarity with the families of the students as we can not accept silence and we can not forget. Today we made visible the faces of the disappeared in the Mexican flag and we will continue to do so as often as necessary. Because we must not allow the Mexican state to disappear them a second time in oblivion. We can not cancel their existence like many others whose deaths have been buried in oblivion.

¡Vivos los llevaron! ¡Vivos los queremos!
They took them alive! We want them alive!

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22nd October. 2014

Solidarity With Ayotzinapa In Edinburgh, Scotland

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Supporters of the “disappeared” students of Ayotzinapa, Mexico gathered in Edinburgh today 22 October to participate in the Global Day of Action. Ten of us staffed a stall and distributed hundreds of leaflets echoing the call of the students’ families that the students be presented alive.

The stall, in the Meadows in central Edinburgh attracted much interest as we displayed placards declaring SOLIDARITY WITH THE DISAPPEARED STUDENTS IN MEXICO. Many people signed letters to the Mexican Ambassador in London, and several also expressed surprise that this atrocity had received very little publicity in the mass media. School students took bundles of leaflets to take back to their classmates.

This was not the first solidarity demonstration with Ayotzinapa in Edinburgh; last Sunday several Mexican citizens resident in Scotland’s capital demonstrated at the Mound on Princes Street, displaying photographs of the missing students.

Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group www.edinchiapas.org.uk

On Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Edinchiapas

edinchiapas@yahoo.co.uk

guerrostalledinburghsigning

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8th October, 2014

Outside The Mexican Embassy In London, October 8th 2014

WHAT DO WE WANT? OUR STUDENTS BACK!
WHEN DO WE WANT THEM? NOW!
HOW DO WE WANT THEM? ALIVE!!

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London demonstration to demand the presentation of the disappeared students in Ayotzinapa.

On the 2nd of October, about twenty people demonstrated outside the Mexican embassy in London to protest the murder and enforced disappearance of rural students in the Mexican state of Guerrero. In that occasion, a letter was delivered to the Mexican consul, who promised to give us a written response. As of 5:30 pm on 8th October, 17 minutes before our action, we received an email from the Mexican embassy in which they repeat the official discourse according to which ‘the federal government is taking care of the matter’. About the whereabouts of the 43 disappeared students, nothing is said.

On October 8th, at 5:30 pm, over 50 people, Mexican and several other nationalities, gathered around the embassy to join the over 80 solidarity demonstrations that where taking place all over the world, to demand the safe and sound presentation of the Ayotzinapa students.

We read the statement prepared by the relatives of the students, which would be read in other demonstrations taking place today all over the world. The names of the disappeared students were read as well, followed by the shout: “we want them alive!”

During the last days, the Society of Mexican Students in the UK, the Mexican Society of University College London, and the Mexican Society of Oxford University published public statements in which they protested the events taking place in Mexico and demanded the safe and sound presentation of the dissappeared, as they also manifested their solidarity with their families.

Zapatista Solidarity Network in the UK

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Protest At The Mexican Embassy In London About Recent Events In Ayotzinapa

2nd October 2014

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THE LETTER TO THE MEXICAN EMBASSADOR

London, United Kingdom, October 2, 2014
46 years of impunity:
October 2nd will never be forgotten

Mexican Embassy in London
42 Hertford Street Mayfair
London W1J 7JR
United Kingdom

Ambassador Diego Gómez Pickering,

The reason for this letter is to express our concern and most profound outrage regarding the recent events in Mexico. On Friday September 26th in four different but related events in Iguala, in the state of Guerrero, 43 students belonging to the Rural School “Raúl Isidro Burgos” of Ayotzinapa were disappeared, 6 people were murdered and more than 20 injured, some of them with gravity. The students were collecting funds to attend the commemorative demonstration of October 2nd of 1968 Killing in Mexico City.

Sadly, these events are not isolated, but the effect of a long prevailing impunity. The first enforced disappearance registered in 1969 was coincidently in the state of Guerrero. Since then, more than 600 people have disappeared for political reasons. Every presidential term has produced its own disappearances and has guaranteed the impunity of its predecessors. This process allowed that to this day more than 20,000 people remain disappeared in Mexico, according to official numbers of the government that you represent.

The government which you work for has belittled the status of disappearances by talking about “people not located”, has re-victimized families, and has made insufficient efforts to fulfil international obligations which the government itself has committed to comply in the field of enforced disappearances. To give an example, President Peña Nieto has denied a hearing to the mothers of Ciudad Juarez, who have maintained a hunger strike for days, and who have recently reported harassment by different entities associated with state security bodies.

October 2nd is the 46th anniversary of the Tlatelolco massacre. The Mexican justice system has determined that genocide was committed at the Plaza de Las Tres Culturas, (Three Cultures Square) but those responsible have not received a sentence; a crime without criminals. The guaranteed impunity to those who committed this and other crimes has been a blank check for the various government entities which have violated human rights in many communities across the country. The failure of the state in the administration of justice, and the active participation in the criminalization of protest, prevent Mexico from guaranteeing rights to its citizens, and instead perpetuates impunity. In this context, President Peña Nieto has paradoxically announced that Mexico will take part in UN peacekeeping missions. But how can a country participate in peacekeeping missions when inside the country its government infringes upon peace, violates human rights, and guarantees impunity?

Julio César Mondragón, one of the students of the Ayotzinapa Rural School murdered last September 26th was found on Saturday September 27th with signs of torture and with his face flayed. Julio César had his eyes brutally removed; we assume from here the responsibility of remaining alert to denounce these crimes.

10710881_850003191706577_6552550958696548596_nMr. Gómez Pickering: 46 years ago, in protest against the massacre of the 2nd of October, Octavio Paz quit his job as Mexico’s Ambassador in India. What will you do in the face of the continuous acts of violence and repression in Mexico? What will you do in the face of 46 years of impunity from the Tlatelolco massacre, and the omnipresent impunity in Mexico?

Being consequent with a policy of impunity, we do not suppose you will resign your position. We demand that, at least, as the Ambassador of Mexico, you let Enrique Peña Nieto know that in the United Kingdom we are deeply concerned by what he is doing, that we demand justice for the 6 murdered people, that we will keep demonstrating in demand for truth and justice, and that we demand the immediate safe and sound return of the 43 disappeared students. Every day that passes without the lawful judgement and punishment of these crimes, without the presentation of the disappeared, the Mexican state is violating the international treaties that it is committed to uphold.

NO MORE DISAPPEARANCES. NO MORE MURDERS. NO MORE IMPUNITY.

UK Zapatista Solidarity Network:
Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group
Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group
Kiptik (Bristol)
London Mexico Solidarity Group
Manchester Zapatista Collective
UK Zapatista Learning and Teaching Collective
UK Zapatista Translation Service
Zapatista Solidarity Group – Essex

YoSoy132 Londres

correo@londonmexicosolidarity.org

_____________________________________________________________________________

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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International Support For The Zapatista Peoples Against The Counterinsurgency War In Chiapas

To National and International Civil Society,

To the National and International Sixth,

To the free, autonomous, independent media or whatever they are called,

To the Good Government Juntas,

To the EZLN,

To the support bases of the EZLN,

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Companeras, Companeros,

From our corners of this planet in resistance and rebellion against capitalism, we come together to publicly denounce the recent aggression against our brothers and sisters, support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, by the members of the organization ORCAO (Regional Organization of Coffee Growers of Ocosingo) against the BAEZLN communities of San Jacinto, El Egipto, Kexil and El Rosario, in the Autonomous Municipality of San Manuel.

The members of ORCAO arrived on the 25th of July, armed to take the reclaimed land, firing into the air, building roofs and threatening the 3 BAEZLN communities. On July 30, they came to poison the collective livestock of the autonomous municipality and wounded a young bull. Following the harassment, the armed group returned on the 1st of August, to attack the BAEZLN village of El Egipto. The women and children had to withdraw to another Zapatista settlement to avoid having to face the group. About 5 days later, they returned to cut down a tree, firing into the air close to two Zapatista communities.

Finally, on the 14th of August, in the very early morning, ORCAO paramilitaries surrounded the town of San Jacinto and fired into the houses, awakening the sleeping BAEZLN compas who had to take refuge in the other Zapatista village leaving behind all their belongings.

We vigorously denounce this intense violation of human rights, harassment, persecution and repression, and we denounce the direct strategy of the bad government against the Zapatistas, to counter the new Zapatista initiatives proposed during the exchange between the Indigenous National Congress and the EZLN. As the HRC Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas stated, this is a war of counterinsurgency being pursued by the bad state and federal government and their business allies against the Zapatistas.

We are well aware of this strategy which affects several regions of Chiapas, and we also do not forget the attack on our sisters and brothers from La Realidad, the murder of our companero Galeano, and the destruction of the clinic and school of the community on May 2nd, perpetrated by paramilitaries from CIOAC-H.

That is a direct attack against Zapatista autonomy, as the Zapatistas are becoming stronger, we realise more and more that the construction of Zapatista autonomy, which is this other world that they are building, is working and walking. Likewise we also become stronger and more organised, and the plans of the bad government will not be enough to stop the progress of the Zapatistas.

SOLIDARITY WITH THE ZAPATISTA PEOPLES

LONG LIVE THE COMPAS OF THE EZLN

IF YOU TOUCH ONE OF US YOU TOUCH ALL OF US

THE OTHER MEXICO
Consejo Autónomo Regional de la Zona Costa de Chiapas
Frente Civico Tonalteco
Centro de Derechos Humanos Digna Ochoa AC
Colectivo de Mujeres “Tejiendo Resistencias en La Sexta”
Comunidad Autónoma Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, Puebla.
Sector de Trabajadores Adherentes a la Sexta
DOCTORS FOR GLOBAL HEALTH-MEXICO
Colectivo Azcapotzalco adherente a la Sexta
Kolectivo de BoCa En BoCa
Pozol Kolectivo
Colectivo Radio Zapatista, Chiapas, México
Colectivo Votán Zapata
La Sexta del totonacapan
Colectivo Autónomo de Colaboración Social, Toluca, México
Biblioteca Popular

THE OTHER EUROPA
Asociacion Espoir Chiapas/ Esperanza Chiapas (Francia)
Comitato Chiapas “Maribel” – Bergamo (Italia)
ASSI (Acción Social Sindical Internacionalista
20zln – Milano – Italia
Groupe CafeZ, Liège Belgique
Casa Nicaragua”, Liège, Belgique.
Associació Solidaria Cafè Rebeldía-Infoespai, Barcelona
Rl Centro de Documentación sobre Zapatismo -CEDOZ
Caracol Zaragoza
Gruppe B.A.S.T.A., Münster, Alemania
Alternative Libertaire (France)
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
UK Zapatista Learning and Teaching Collective
Zapatista Solidarity Group – Essex
La Adhesiva, Barcelona.
CGT Estado Español
Union syndicale Solidaires, France
Fédération SUD éducation, France
Fédération anarchiste (France)
Comité Tierra Y Libertad, Lille France
Réseau Latino de Lille, France,
Caracol Solidario, Besançon, Francia
Associazione Ya Basta NordEst
asociación Mut Viyz 13 de Marseille, Francia
Les Grains de sable, Francia

THE OTHER UNITED STATES                                                                                                                                                                                                         Colectivo de la Red de Solidaridad con México                                                                                                                                                                                   Chicago, Illinois, EEUU                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Mexico Solidarity Network collective                                                                                                                                                                                    Chicago, Illinois, USA

 

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From England: Activities in homage to Votán Galeano and in support of the Zapatista community of La Realidad

 

“Oh, and also tell them that the bases of support will be holding a homage to compa Galeano in all of the caracoles on May 24. And that it would be good for them to do something that day in the places where they live also, according to their own schedules and styles.” – Communique ‘Fragments of Reality 1′

10415593_10152157578098175_3326458840547807019_nThree weeks ago today, May 24th, the Zapatista support base compañero José Luis Solís López, Galeano, was murdered by paramilitaries in the caracol of la Realidad, in one of the most serious attacks on Zapatista autonomy for many years. Today, acts in memory of Galeano are being performed in the Zapatista caracoles and in many parts of Mexico and the world.

The UK Zapatista Solidarity Network joins the International Week of Action and Day of Homage. We demand an end to attacks against the Autonomous Zapatista Communities, and we raise our voices to demand justice for compañero Galeano, who is also our compañero.

We have learned with pain and rage of the violent attack against the caracol of La Realidad perpetrated by paramilitaries from the CIOAC-Historic, the PVEM and the PAN, and the savage murder of compañero Votán Galeano, teacher at the Zapatista Escuelita. This violent attack also resulted in 15 Zapatista support bases being wounded and the destruction of the Zapatista school and community health clinic, two well- known symbols of Zapatista autonomy.

We know that the attack is not an isolated act, but clearly part of an offensive by the state. It is part of a strategy of low intensity warfare, planned from the Mexican Federal Government and from the Government of the State of Chiapas, a strategy applied in all Zapatista territory disguised as intra-community conflicts, which aims to put an end to the dignified struggle of the Zapatistas for another world, one which they are building day by day on their lands.

10257919_141475889356120_118464011434228108_nIn southern England some groups and individuals from the Network met today, May 24th, to carry out activities and disseminate information, and to perform an act of homage to the life and struggle of José Luis López Solís, Votán Galeano.

In the act we paid homage to our fallen compa, we sent our sympathies to his family and called for justice for the attack on our Zapatista compañeras and compañeros from la Realidad and the crime committed against our brother. We demanded justice and punishment for those responsible, an end to the attacks on Zapatista communities and to the organization of paramilitary groups by the bad government.

To the Zapatista support bases of La Realidad and the family and friends of Galeano we offer our most heartfelt and sincere condolences, and we send greetings of solidarity and embraces from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. We want tell you that you not alone, that throughout the world we make your struggle our own. Our outrage and our organising will continue, in solidarity with the dignified struggle of the Zapatistas and their tireless efforts to build a world where many worlds fit.

Votán Galeano, thank you for it all. We will remember you. You will live on in the hearts of everyone who is fighting for dignity and justice. Today and always, we, the world, and your Reality embrace you. Galeano Lives! The Struggle Continues!

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Message from the UK to La Realidad

24 April, 2014

Dear compañeros and compañeras,

10270287_141184202718622_6542591406610006855_nWe send solidarity greetings from the UK. We have heard the news of the latest attack by the bad government and its paramilitary forces. This fills us with pain, rage and even greater determination to continue our struggles from our various corners of the world to accompany the thought of the rebel dignity of the Zapatistas.

The paramilitary attack on La Realidad, on 2 May 2014, resulted in the death of compañero Galeano. We also know that 15 Zapatista community members were wounded, and the autonomous school and health clinic were destroyed. This fills us with indignation, and shows us clearly once again that while the Zapatistas are working to build peace, the bad government continues to seek and provoke war.

We know that you are building a dignified alternative which fills us with inspiration in a world plagued by wars, neo-colonial governments, large corporations and “humanitarian” agencies.

10383014_808150305863841_8416098449219464904_pWe call on those people who continue to struggle for justice and for the creation of a new world to join this project of resistance which was born in Chiapas and now travels through all corners of the world. There is no bad government which does not tremble before a united people, and no memory is lost if it is honoured in struggle. Compañero Galeano will remain in our hearts and will be with us in the struggle now being waged in Chiapas for the birth a new world.

For our part, we will continue working to spread the word of the Good Government Juntas and the Zapatista rebellion.

The people united will never be defeated !

Galeano Lives!

UK Zapatista Solidarity Network:

London Mexico Solidarity Group

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group

Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group

Kiptik (Bristol)

Manchester Zapatista Collective

Zapatista Solidarity Group – Essex

UK Zapatista Translation Service

UK Education, Culture and Communication Team

____________________________________________________________________

Protest at the Mexican Embassy in London May 18th, 2014

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Today at the Mexican Embassy. Compa Galeano vive! The zapatistas are not alone! We are with them, from every corner of this other world that is, in fact, possible.

The Zapatistas are not alone. We are all here: Mother Earth, the trees, the flowers, plants, herbs, wind, fire, sun, moon, ancestors, the animals, the UK Zapatista network. Zapata lives, the struggle continues!

The Zapatistas work for peace, the Mexican government works for war. No more paramilitary attacks. Goodbye impunity, hello justice and freedom. Sign the letter denouncing the murder of compa Galeano and denounce the 2 May attack on La Realidad.

http://www.anattackonusall.org/

Compañeros and compañeras,

Today, the 18th of May, we carried out an action in front of the Mexican Embassy in London in support of the Zapatista communities which find themselves under attack by the bad government and their paramilitary groups, and in memory of the ‘compañero’ Galeano. The action was organised by the London Mexico Solidarity Group and the other groups of the UK Zapatista Support Network:  Dorset-Chiapas Solidarity Group, Edinburgh-Chiapas Solidarity Group, the Manchester Zapatista Collective, The Zapatista Solidarity Group – Essex, Kiptik (Bristol), the UK Zapatista Translation Service, and the UK Zapatista Art, Culture and Education Collective.

Approximately 20 people came, representing different collectives and some individually. We hung a banner in front of the embassy with the slogan ‘We are all Zapatistas’ and we held placards with various support and solidarity messages, which comrades had written. These tell the story of how the vision of the Zapatista communities has travelled far, and continues to nurture the hopes from below and to the left all over the world. The slogan we sang today in honour of our fallen ‘compañero’ (Long Live Galeano, the struggle continues) is a demonstration of that, as well as showing that Chiapas is not alone in its struggle against Bad Governments. There isn’t a Bad Government which doesn’t tremble before the people united, and no memory is lost if it is honoured through resistance.  ‘Compañero’ Galeano will live on in our hearts, and it is a fact that the struggle for freedom in Chiapas will bring a new world.

From the United Kingdom, we send you a small story of our action today and a hug of solidarity.

UK Zapatista Support Network

London Mexico Solidarity Group
Dorset-Chiapas Solidarity Group
Edinburgh-Chiapas Solidarity Group
Manchester Zapatista Collective
Zapatista Solidarity Group – Essex
Kiptik (Bristol)
UK Zapatista Translation Service
UK Zapatista Art, Culture and Education Collective

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Two Weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

http://vivabachajon.wordpress.com/en-ingles/ 

United Kingdom demands justice for Bachajón

An 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

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Two Weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

http://vivabachajon.wordpress.com/en-ingles/

 

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

 

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
For further information in English including reports of activities in the campaign: http://vivabachajon.wordpress.com/en-ingles/

____________________________________________

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:

We 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

For further information in English including reports of activities: http://vivabachajon.wordpress.com/en-ingles/

The video “Bachajón – Dispossession is death, Life is resistance.” Can be viewed on:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJkVziBk214

 

____________________________________________________________________

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

Pronouncement from the UK Zapatista Solidarity Network concerning the recent attacks on Zapatistas from the community 10 de Abril

To the Zapatista Support bases

To the Good Government Juntas

To the EZLN

To the adherents to the Sexta

To national and international human rights organisations

To the alternative media

To people of good heart in Mexico and the world

In our corner of the world in the United Kingdom we learned with outrage of the recent attacks on the Zapatista support bases (BAZ) of the community of 10 de Abril, autonomous municipality 17 de Noviembre, in the Caracol of Morelia, and on staff from the hospital of San Carlos in Altamirano who came to the assistance of those who had been injured during this attack.

We raise our voices to strongly condemn these repressive actions which are without doubt part of the ongoing counterinsurgency war being waged by the three levels of the bad government in Mexico against the dignified autonomy of the BAZ, who struggle every day for another world, one with democracy, freedom and justice.

The JBG “Heart of the Rainbow of Hope, Caracol Whirlwind of Our Words”, in Morelia, has denounced that on the 30th January, 300 members of the Independent Centre of Agricultural and Campesino Workers (CIOAC) democratic, from the nearby community of 20 de Noviembre, arrived in 18 pickup trucks and attacked the BAZ of 10 de Abril with sticks and stones. During this attack, three Zapatistas were seriously wounded, while two others on each side received minor injuries. A call for assistance was made to the hospital of San Carlos in Altimirano, but when an ambulance and a pickup truck arrived, the hospital staff, including two nuns, were cruelly assaulted by supporters of CIOAC, and prevented from attending to the injured, contrary to the Geneva Convention.

With the support and encouragement of the bad government these people have been trying since 2007 to seize the lands of the community of 10 de Abril, which were recuperated by the Zapatistas in 1994, and which have been worked by them ever since. These attacks have been worsening since last November. The Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre warns us that “in the region there is an imminent possibility of new attacks and an intensification of the violence, which would be a risk to life and personal integrity, in addition to the violations of the right to territory and autonomy of the Zapatista peoples.” We therefore link our voices to the demands that the authorities of the federal, state and municipal governments:

  • act to reduce tension in the conflict and to guarantee the security and integrity of those involved, given their responsibility to guarantee, respect and protect the human rights of the population that is located within their jurisdiction
  • investigate and punish those responsible for the attacks

We also wish to send a message of support to our Zapatista compañeras and compañeros: that they continue to be a source of inspiration to us, that we will remain vigilant as to what happens in their lands, and that they are not alone.

¡Alto Inmediato a las Agresiones a las Bases de Apoyo Zapatistas!

¡Si Tocan a l@s Zapatistas nos Tocan a Tod@s!

¡L@s Zapatistas No Están Sol@s!

¡Vivan Las Bases de Apoyo Zapatistas!

¡Viva el EZLN!

Atentamente

The UK Zapatista Solidarity Network:

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group,

Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group,

Zapatista Solidarity Group – Essex,

Kiptik, Bristol,

London Mexico Solidarity Group,

Manchester Zapatista Solidarity Group,

UK Zapatista Translation Collective

and

The Committee of the True Word from South-West England

9th February, 2014

___________________________________________________________________________

UK DEMANDS JUSTICE FOR THE PEOPLE OF SAN SEBASTIÁN BACHAJÓN

embassy SSB Nov 2013

November, 2013

Representatives of groups from around the UK delivered a letter to the Mexican Embassy in London this week, demonstrating against the continued harassment of the indigenous Tzeltal peoples of San Sebastián Bachajón, in Chiapas, South East Mexico.

This protest was part of a worldwide campaign to alert the public about the situation in San Sebastian Bachajón, through letter writing and demonstrations. The October 24th celebration marked the six month anniversary of the asassination of their community leader, Juan Vázquez Guzmán. Since then there has been no evidence of any kind of effective police investigation into his murder, nor have the material and intellectual authors of the crime been identified or punished in any way.

The community of San Sebastian Bachajón has been an inspiration for their resistance and their struggle for land and territory in Chiapas in recent years. There are plans to convert their lands into a lucrative tourist destination for the nearby waterfalls of Agua Azul. As a result, the community has suffered many years of violence, dispossession, threats, abuse, arrests on false charges and invasion and occupation by state forces.

Members of groups from the Zapatista Solidarity Network in the UK and other European groups are calling for the return of their lands to the people of San Sebastián Bachajón, and respect for their rights as indigenous peoples. They are also demanding a full investigation into the murder of Juan Vasquez Guzman, that those responsible for his murder are brought to justice and that the Bachajón prisoners are released.

On delivering the letter to the Mexican Embassy in London, the groups reported a recent alarming increase in threats, intimidation and harassment against the community. Local pro-government authorities and political party members are organising with officials from the municipal and state governments to evict the common landholders from their recently opened gravel quarry, which they are working collectively for the benefit of the community. The groups in the UK and Europe demanding an immediate end to this climate of violence against the common landholders of Bachajón, and hold the three levels of government responsible for any injury that they may suffer.

For more information about the dignified struggle of San Sebastián Bachajón, we recommend the website:  http://vivabachajon.wordpress.com/

 

The letter follows:

You can find the updated letter in Spanish and English here: http://dorsetchiapassolidarity.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/request-to-write-a-letter-in-support-of-san-sebastian-bachajon/

 

Sr Alejandro Ives Estivill Castro

Mexican Ambassador to the UK

Embassy of Mexico

16 St George Street
London

W1S 1FD                                                                                                November 2013

Dear Sir

Re: The dispossession of the common lands of the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, the assassination of their community leader Juan Vázquez Guzmán, and the unjust imprisonment of Antonio Estrada Estrada and Miguel Demeza Jiménez. 

24th October, 2013, marks the commemoration of six months having passed since the community leader and human rights defender from the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón in Chiapas, Juan Vázquez Guzmán, was shot down in the doorway of his home on 24th April, 2013. Since that time there has been no evidence of any effective investigation into his murder, and neither the material nor the intellectual authors of the crime have been identified or punished. It seems to be another example of the impunity which so often prevails in the case of crimes against the indigenous peoples of Mexico.

This assassination, together with the repression being experienced by the indigenous Tseltal inhabitants of this community, forms part of a violent campaign to displace the ejidatarios from their ancestral lands and territory in order to construct a luxury upmarket tourist development.

We wish to express our profound concerns at the failure to adequately investigate this crime and at the ongoing campaign of harassment, dispossession and criminalisation being conducted by the three levels of government, and their allies in big business, against the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, with the use of state police and military forces and locally recruited paramilitary groups, which has been underway since 2007.

On 3rd November 2013, the ejidatarios denounced the risk of “a violent eviction at any time from our gravel quarry, Nah Chawuk, which we recently opened as an organization and as ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, to benefit the people in general.” We assert their right as indigenous people to open this gravel quarry in their territory and will hold the three levels of government responsible for any harm suffered by those who work there.

The judgement concerning the petition for amparo 274/2011 of the Seventh District Court in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, presented by the people of Bachajón against the arbitrary deprivation of their common lands following the mass arrest in February 2011, and in favour of the protection of their territory and collective rights, has been handled with a disturbing lack of impartiality and independence. This demonstrates a shocking lack of respect for indigenous peoples, contrary to their rights 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. The ejidatarios have asked the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation to address this case, and have also asked the Third Collegiate Tribunal in Tuxtla Gutiérrez to study the Appeal Hearing 274/2013 and, in accordance with its powers, to ask the highest court in the land to resolve the request for amparo from the indigenous Tseltales; therefore we expect the court to treat the ejidatarios with fairness and justice, as is their right.

The repression being endured by the ejidatarios, as a result of their resistance and their   defence of their territory and the natural resources of the area, forced them, on 26th May, 2013, to take their case to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, based in Washington DC, in order to safeguard their rights and the integrity of their territory, and to protest the arbitrary deprivation of the life of Juan Vázquez Guzmán. 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.

Finally we call for the liberation of the Bachajón ejidatarios Antonio Estrada Estrada, prisoner in CERSS 17, Playas de Catazajá, Chiapas, and Miguel Demeza Jiménez, prisoner in CERSS 14, El Amate. Both of these men have had their rights to due process violated, were denied access to a translator and a lawyer with knowledge of their Tseltal language and culture, and were tortured to make them confess to crimes which they did not commit. We also call for the immediate release of Alejandro Díaz Santiz, from Solidarity with the Voice of El Amate.

We therefore demand:

  • A full and fair investigation into the material and intellectual authors of the assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, and punishment of those responsible
  • Respect for the fundamental human rights of the indigenous Tseltal 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
  • Respect for their right to self-determination and the construction of their autonomy
  • That the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation uses its power to resolve in a just, impartial and objective manner the case for amparo 274/2011 of the Seventh District Court in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, and, currently in process, amparo review 274/2013, before the Third Collegiate Tribunal in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas
  • An end to the plunder and dispossession, the theft of commons, the militarisation of the area, and to the threats and violence being experienced
  • The immediate release of Antonio Estrada Estrada, Miguel Demeza Jiménez, and  Alejandro Díaz Santiz

We will continue to monitor closely any developments in the area, and to offer the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón and the family of Juan Vázquez Guzmán our total support.

Respectfully

UK Zapatista Solidarity Network

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group

Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group

KIPTIK, Bristol

London Mexico Solidarity Group

Manchester Zapatista Solidarity Group

Zapatista Solidarity Group – Essex

Les trois passants, Paris, France.

Comitato Chiapas “Maribel” – Bergamo, Italy

Nodo Solidale, Italy and Mexico

CafeZ de Liège, Belgium

CGT-Estado Español, Spanish State

Centro de Documentación sobre Zapatismo -CEDOZ- Spanish State

Caracol Zaragoza, Spanish State

Asociaciòn Ya Basta! Milano, Italia

Plataforma Vasca de Solidaridad con Txiapas, Eskerrik

Gruppe B.A.S.T.A., Munster, Germany

Asociacion Espoir Chiapas / Esperanza chiapas; France

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

Caracol mundo-eco de latido en solidaridad, Austria

_______________________________________________________________________________

Ejido San Sebastian Bachajón denounces risk of violent eviction from Nah Chawuk stone quarry, 3rd November, 2013 

and welcomes the initiative from the UK Network

FROM THE EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJON, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 3 NOVEMBER 2013

To the people of Mexico and the world

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 National Liberation Army

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 UK Zapatista Solidarity Network

To national and international human rights defenders

To public opinion

bachajon1Compañeros and compañeras, receive a combative greeting from the children, women, men and elders of the community of San Sebastián Bachajón, in these days which are sacred to our people, during which we remember our dead who are resting in the arms of our mother earth. We joyfully greet our compañero Alberto Patishtan Gómez who managed to bring down the walls of the prison, and who is now happily in the company of his family.

We denounce that the pro-government political party supporter and ejidal commissioner for San Sebastián Bachajón, by name Alejandro Moreno Gómez, and the chairman of the Vigilance Commission of the same ejido, Samuel guzman diaz, by occupation a charro[i]teacher, are organizing, with their people from the political parties, a violent eviction at any time from our gravel[ii] quarry, Nah Chawuk, which we recently opened as an organization and as ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, to benefit the people in general.

The opening of the Nah Chawuk gravel quarry is an exercise of our rights as indigenous people and ejidatarios to control and protect our territory, and in response to the mismanagement of the main gravel quarry which to date remains in the hands of the bad government, because the former ejidal commissioner Francisco Guzmán Jiménez (aka the Goyito) gave it to them along with the lands from which we have been dispossessed since February 2nd, 2011, and where the bad government built a toll booth which is administered by the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas and where they also have Francisco Guzmán Jiménez working as a minion.

We know that Alejandro Moreno Gómez and Samuel guzman diaz are constantly travelling to Tuxtla Gutierrez to tell the government to use public force to evict us from our Nah Chawuk gravel quarry, saying that this quarry is the main quarry and is now in the hands of the bad government, but this is a pure lie and they are tricks by the government-supporting ejidal authorities, who so far have not succeeded in bringing the police to beat up our brothers and sisters who are bravely and with dignity working collectively in Nah Chawuk. For this reason, people from the ejido are seeking together to carry out an eviction from our gravel quarry, like they did on February 2, 2011, with the same people of Francisco Guzmán Jiménez, with the full support, funding and authorization of Leonardo Guirao Aguilar, current municipal president of Chilón, who entered with an armed group to displace our compañeros who had been working in the toll booth built by our organization since September 2009, and who stole building materials and cash.

We hold fully responsible for any aggression, threat, or attack on the life and integrity of our compañeros who work and care for the Nah Chawuk gravel quarry, the following: Alejandro Moreno Gómez, pro-government ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajon; the chairman of the Vigilance Commission of San Sebastián Bachajón, Samuel díaz guzmán, by occupation also a charro teacher; Francisco Guzman Jimenez (aka the Goyito ) former officialist ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón, currently a minion working in the toll booth of the bad government; the mayor of Chilón, Leonardo Rafael Guirao Aguilar; Manuel Velasco Coello, the Chiapas state governor, and Enrique Peña Nieto, president of the republic.

We are not going to 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 community, we want to defend our culture and identity, we want to remain who we are, like our late compañero Juan Vazquez Guzman said, we will keep fighting no matter what happens, we are not afraid, our organization does not seek confrontation, but it is the bad government and the pro-government ejidal authorities who only seek to destroy the organization, to avoid any obstacle to selling the land and making money for their own personal gain. They are the true provokers of violence in our community and they seek to ensure that there is always division, because they do not want the people to unite against their corruption and their looting of our territory.

We demand the immediate release of our colleagues ANTONIO ESTRADA ESTRADA, unjustly imprisoned in Playas de Catazajá, Chiapas and MIGUEL DEMEZA JIMENEZ in El Amate in Cintalapa de Figueroa. Also of compañero Alejandro Díaz Santiz, from solidarity with the voice of el amate, held in cereso number 5 in San Cristobal de las casas, Chiapas .

We welcome with joy the campaign of solidarity through sending letters to the authorities of the bad government, proposed by the UK Zapatista Solidarity Network and the compañeros and compañeras of Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York, we support this work and ask all our compañeros y compañeras from Mexico and the world for their valuable support.

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 Vazquez Guzman Lives, the Bachajón Struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous lands!


[i] Charro – a trade union leader appointed by, and supporting, the government

[ii] Aggregate

_______________________________________________________________________________

Request to write a letter in support of San Sebastián Bachajón

 

From the UK Zapatista Solidarity Network: A suggestion for a letter in support of the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón

To all:

Groups, collectives, organisations and individuals, adherents to the Sixth

National and international human right organisations

Alternative media

People of good heart in Mexico and throughout the world

Compañeras and Compañeros,

To mark the passing of 6 months since the brutal assassination of compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán on 24th April, 2013, we are sending a request to write a letter in support of the ejidatarios, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, from San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas, Mexico, whose dignified struggle continues.

The following letter is ready to print out and send in protest against the dispossession of their lands and to demand justice for their murdered leader Juan Vázquez Guzmán . At the end you will find the names and adresses of some government officials it can be sent to. It is only necessary to add the date, the recipient and your name and contact information. You can of course write your own letter if you prefer.

You may also wish to send or deliver the letter to your nearest Mexican government office, embassy or consulate, as well as to the media and other organizations. It is better to send the letter by post rather than email wherever possible.

Thank you.

We send you all greetings and an embrace

The UK Zapatista Solidarity Network

Here is the letter:

You can find the letter in Spanish here: http://dorsetchiapassolidarity.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/request-to-write-a-letter-in-support-of-san-sebastian-bachajon/

To …………………………                                                              Date …………………

Dear Sirs

Re: The dispossession of the common lands of the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón and the assassination of their community leader Juan Vázquez Guzmán. 

24th October, 2013, marks the commemoration of six months having passed since

the community leader and human rights defender from the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón in Chiapas, Juan Vázquez Guzmán, was shot down in the doorway of his home on 24th April, 2013. Since that time there has been no evidence of any effective investigation into his murder, and neither the material nor the intellectual authors of the crime have been identified or punished. It seems to be another example of the impunity which so often prevails in the case of crimes against the indigenous peoples of Mexico.

This assassination, together with the repression being experienced by the indigenous Tseltal inhabitants of this community, forms part of a violent campaign to displace the ejidatarios from their ancestral lands and territory in order to construct a luxury upmarket tourist development.

We wish to express our profound concerns at the failure to adequately investigate this crime and at the ongoing campaign of harassment, dispossession and criminalisation being conducted by the three levels of government, and their allies in big business, against the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, with the use of state police and military forces and locally recruited paramilitary groups, which has been underway since 2007.

On 3rd November 2013, the ejidatarios denounced the risk of “a violent eviction at any time from our gravel quarry, Nah Chawuk, which we recently opened as an organization and as ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, to benefit the people in general.” We assert their right as indigenous people to open this gravel quarry in their territory and will hold the three levels of government responsible for any harm suffered by those who work there.

The judgement concerning the petition for amparo 274/2011 of the Seventh District Court in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, presented by the people of Bachajón against the arbitrary deprivation of their common lands following the mass arrest in February 2011, and in favour of the protection of their territory and collective rights, has been handled with a disturbing lack of impartiality and independence. This demonstrates a shocking lack of respect for indigenous peoples, contrary to their rights 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. The ejidatarios have asked the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation to address this case, and have also asked the Third Collegiate Tribunal in Tuxtla Gutiérrez to study the Appeal Hearing 274/2013 and, in accordance with its powers, to ask the highest court in the land to resolve the request for amparo from the indigenous Tseltales; therefore we expect the court to treat the ejidatarios with fairness and justice, as is their right.

The repression being endured by the ejidatarios, as a result of their resistance and their   defence of their territory and the natural resources of the area, forced them, on 26th May, 2013, to take their case to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, based in Washington DC, in order to safeguard their rights and the integrity of their territory, and to protest the arbitrary deprivation of the life of Juan Vázquez Guzmán. 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.

Finally we  call for the immediate release of Alejandro Díaz Santiz, from Solidarity with the Voice of El Amate.

We therefore demand:

  • A full and fair investigation into the material and intellectual authors of the assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, and punishment of those responsible
  • Respect for the fundamental human rights of the indigenous Tseltal 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
  • Respect for their right to self-determination and the construction of their autonomy
  • We demand that the President of the Council of the Federal Judiciary, Minister Juan N. Silva Meza, guarantee a fair trial and an effective resolution to the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón in the development of amparo 274/2011 of the index of the Seventh District Court in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas to protect the Tzeltal indigenous territory, which has recently for the second time had the procedure reviewed by the Third Collegiate Tribunal in Tuxtla Gutiérrez.
  • An end to the plunder and dispossession, the theft of commons, the militarisation of the area, and to the threats and violence being experienced
  • The immediate release of Alejandro Díaz Santiz

We will continue to monitor closely any developments in the area, and to offer the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón and the family of Juan Vázquez Guzmán our total support.

Respectfully

………………………..

 

Addresses:

Ministro Juan N. Silva Mesa

Consejo de la Judicatura Federal

Insurgentes Sur 2417, San Ángel. Álvaro Obregón. C.P. 01000, México D.F.

+52 (55) 5490-8000 extensión 1072

Correo: luis.angulo.jacobo@correo.cjf.gob.mx, presidenciacjf@correo.cjf.gob.mx

Lic. Enrique Peña Nieto

Presidente de la República

Residencia Oficial de los Pinos

Casa Miguel Alemán

Col. San Miguel Chapultepec,

C.P. 11850, México DF

Tel: (52.55) 2789.1100 Fax: (52.55) 5277.2376

Lic. Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong

Secretario de Gobernación

Bucareli 99, 1er. Piso, Col. Juárez,

Del. Cuauhtémoc,

C.P. 06600 México D.F.

Fax: (52 55) 50933414;

Correo:  secretario@segob.gob.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

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@sgg.chiapas.gob.mx

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,

61 6-34-50

Correo: raciel.lopez@pgje.chiapas.gob.mx

Lic. Leonardo Rafael Guirao Aguilar

Presidente Municipal de Chilón, Chiapas

Domicilio Conocido S/N, Presidencia Municipal C.P. 29943

Chilón, Chiapas, México

Teléfonos: (01 919) 6710115, 6710230, 6710116, 6710030, Fax: 6710034

Correo: presidenciachilon@hotmail.com

 

Dr. Emilio Álvarez Icaza
Secretario Ejecutivo de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos

1889 F Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20006
USA
Fax 1-202-458-3992
Correo: cidhdenuncias@oas.org


Javier Hernández Valencia
Representante de la Oficina en México del Alto Comisionado
de Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos

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
Correo: quejasoacnudhmexico@ohchr.org ; oacnudh@ohchr.org 

 

Sr Alejandro Ives Estivill Castro

Mexican Ambassador to the UK

Embassy of Mexico

16 St George Street
London

W1S 1FD

mexuk@sre.gob.mx

________________________________________________________________________________________________

October 19, 2013

ZAPATISTA SOLIDARITY AT THE 2013 LONDON ANARCHIST BOOKFAIR

THE ZAPATISTAS: LATEST NEWS AND RELAUNCH OF LONDON GROUP

MEETING AT LONDON ANARCHIST BOOKFAIR

11.00am – 12 noon Saturday 19th October

Queen Mary’s, University of London, Mile End Road, London, E1 4NS

Meeting in room 2.41, Second Floor

http://www.anarchistbookfair.org.uk/

The Zapatistas – Latest news

The UK Zapatista Solidarity Network offers a workshop based on the practices of the Zapatista ‘little school’ this summer in Zapatista territory in Chiapas. Activists were invited to learn about the Zapatista practice of autonomy (health, education, justice; resistance; participation of women; good government), and were asked to respond from their own calendars and geographies. The workshop will update the situation in the Zapatista territories in resistance. Despite threats and oppression from the state and paramilitary groups, Zapatista territory continues to provide an inspiring anti-capitalist and decolonial example. This workshop will also relaunch the London Zapatista Solidarity Group.

Organised by: UK Zapatista Solidarity Network

Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group will also have a stall at the Bookfair, with t shirts, amber jewellery, embroideries, friendship bracelets, and other products from Chiapas, plus publications both free and for sale.

__________________________________________________________________________

July 7, 2013

From The UK: Protest Against The Murder Of Juan Vázquez Guzmán

 

SAM_0781

SAM_0809

Representatives from groups from around the UK delivered a letter to the Mexican Embassy in London  protesting against the assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and the continued harassment of indigenous peoples in San Sebastián Bachajón in Chiapas, South East Mexico.

SAM_0772This was part of the “Week of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, The Bachajón struggle continues!” in support of Bachajón that has seen protests in cities around the world.

An altar was constructed outside the embassy, music was played and the groups gave out information to passers-by about the Bachajón struggle. They also spoke to embassy staff who confirmed they would relate their feelings back to the Mexican government and to the relevant authorities in Chiapas.

SAM_0774The community of San Sebastián Bachajón has been in the forefront of the struggle for land in Chiapas during the last few years. There are plans to turn their village into a lucrative tourist destination for the nearby waterfalls at Agua Azul. As such the community has suffered years of violence, threats, abuse, arrests on false charges and invasion and occupation of the village by state forces. As a community leader Juan was an important figure in the village’s resistance and was, and indeed still is, an inspiration to the local people as they seek to defend their land and the rights of all indigenous peoples in Mexico and beyond.

Groups from the UK, Europe and beyond are calling for the return of common lands to the people of San Sebastián Bachajón and the respect for their rights as indigenous peoples. They are also calling for a full investigation into Juan’s murder and that those responsible for the killing be brought to justice.

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

The letter delivered to the Mexican Embassy reads as follows:

To:

Lic. Enrique Peña Nieto, Presidente de la República

Lic.  Manuel Velasco Coello, Gobernador Constitucional del Estado de Chiapas

Lic. Leonardo Rafael Guirao Aguilar, Presidente Municipal de Chilón, Chiapas

SAM_0803Sr Alejandro Ives Estivill Castro

Mexican Ambassador to the UK

Embassy of Mexico

16 St George Street
London

W1S 1FD.

Sirs

Re: The repression of the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, the dispossession of their common lands, and the assassination of the community leader and human rights defender Juan Vázquez Guzmán. 

The recent brutal assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, former Secretary General of the Adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas, has highlighted the repression being experienced by this community as a result of a violent campaign to displace them from their ancestral lands and territory in order to construct a luxury upmarket tourist development.

We wish to express our indignation and sadness about the murder, our alarm at the increase in violence towards those who seek to defend their rights, common lands, natural resources and our Mother Earth, and to call for justice and an end to the threats against the family of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón.

The community’s request for amparo (legal protection) against the arbitrary deprivation of their common lands, and for the protection of their territory and collective rights, has so far been treated with a disturbing lack of impartiality and independence, and has demonstrated a lack of respect for indigenous peoples, contrary to their rights 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.

We demand:

  • A full and fair investigation into the material and intellectual authors of the assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, and punishment of those responsible
  • Respect for the fundamental human rights of the indigenous Tseltal 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
  • Respect for their right 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
  • Freedom for the prisoners of Bachajón
  • A fair, impartial and objective resolution of amparo 274/2011

We understand that the repression being experienced by the ejidatarios, adherents to the Sixth from San Sebastián Bachajón is rooted in the neoliberal political and economic interests of transnational corporations and the three levels of Mexican government. We will continue to monitor closely any developments in the area, and to offer the community and family of Juan Vázquez Guzmán our total support.

Respectfully

UK Zapatista Solidarity Network

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group

Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group

KIPTIK

London Mexico Solidarity Group

Manchester Zapatista Solidarity Group

West Yorkshire Zapatista Solidarity Group

Zapatista Solidarity Group – Essex                                                   1st July, 2013

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

June 22, 2013

STATEMENT FROM THE UK ZAPATISTA SOLIDARITY NETWORK IN SUPPORT OF THE WEEK OF WORLDWIDE ACTION

STATEMENT FROM THE UK ZAPATISTA SOLIDARITY NETWORK IN SUPPORT OF THE WEEK OF WORLDWIDE ACTION: “JUAN VÁZQUEZ GUZMÁN LIVES! THE BACHAJÓN STRUGGLE CONTINUES!” JUNE 25TH TO JULY 2ND, 2013.

The UK Zapatista Solidarity Network offers its full support to the Week of Worldwide Action: “Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives! The Bachajón struggle continues!” from Tuesday, June 25th to Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013.

Through this initiative we hope both to help spread awareness of the dignified struggle of the adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle from San Sebastián Bachajón, and to offer solidarity to our brothers and sisters there.

We are shocked and saddened by the brutal assassination of the community leader and human rights defender Juan Vázquez Guzmán and send our condolences to his family, friends and community.

We demand justice for his murder and a full investigation into its material and intellectual authors.

We know that Juan Vázquez Guzmán gave his life in the defence of the land and territory of San Sebastián Bachajón and of our Mother Earth against the ravages of the three levels of Mexican government and their allies in multinational corporations.

We know also that this struggle will continue.

You can read more about the campaign here:

http://vivabachajon.wordpress.com/en-ingles/

UK Zapatista Solidarity Network

June, 2013

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

April 26, 2013

At The Mexican Embassy In London: Demand For An End To The Attacks On The Zapatista Support Base Community Of San Marcos Avilés

 

SAM_0762Today, 26th April, 2013, the UK Zapatista Solidarity Network held a protest at the Embassy of Mexico in London in solidarity with the Zapatista support base (BAZ) community of San Marcos Avilés in the municipality of Chilón, Chiapas, Mexico. The protestors delivered a letter demanding an end to the threats, aggressions and acts of violence being made against this community by members of the Mexican political parties, with the aim of displacing the Zapatistas from their homes and their lands. This is being done, explained members of the Network, with the full support and backing of the Mexican state, in an attempt to put an end to the advances in Zapatista autonomy.

The protest was organised in response to the recent alarming renewal of the threats and acts of harassment, which has led to fears of an imminent attack and eviction. Only this week, a civil caravan for human rights observation and documentation on its way to San Marcos Avilés was threatened with violence by the party supporters. “Blood will flow”, they said, showing the impunity they enjoy.

The report presented by the caravan is shocking. The community has been living through a terrifying nightmare since it was previously displaced in 2010, following an attack with firearms. At this time 170 people, many of them women, children, the sick and the elderly, had to endure 33 days in the open without food or water, sleeping under plastic sheeting. Although they were able to return, their homes had been ransacked and plundered, and they have never felt safe since.

The letter called for an end to the threats and violence against the BAZ, and for a guarantee of their life, safety and human rights. “We will be monitoring events in San Marcos Avilés closely in the following days, and we will hold the governments of Chilon, Chiapas and Mexico responsible for any harm that may befall the BAZ of this community”.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the United Kingdom, people from Bristol, Edinburgh, Essex, Dorset, Manchester, Exeter, Sheffield and Bradford telephoned the Mexican Embassy in London and the Municipal President of Chilón, Leonardo Rafael Guirao Aguilar, who would be the local official responsible for any eviction. The callers expressed their dismay and indignation and called for immediate action to put an end to the violence.

The group ended the protest by saying “We wish through our actions today to send a message of solidarity to our dignified sisters and brothers of San Marcos Avilés. They have our full support.”

At the same time, the members of the group remembered Juan Vázquez Guzmán, ex- Secretary General of the adherents to the Sixth Declaration from the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón, who was murdered on Wednesday night. A minute of silence was dedicated to his memory outside the Embassy.

Keep informed of the situation: http://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/latest-news/

Watch the videomessage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY-8CBt3Vkg

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

April 19, 2013

UK DEMANDS FREEDOM FOR ALBERTO PATISHTÁN GÓMEZ

Filed under: Political prisoners — Tags:  — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:43 pm

UK DEMANDS FREEDOM FOR ALBERTO PATISHTÁN GÓMEZ, POLITICAL PRISONER IN CHIAPAS, MEXICO

 

edinburgh1Over the last few days protests, letters and phone calls have been made to the government of Mexico by people from many parts of the United Kingdom calling for the immediate release of the iconic indigenous political prisoner and human rights defender Alberto Patishtán Gómez, who has now served nearly thirteen years of a sixty year sentence for a crime he did not commit.

Today a letter was presented at the Mexican Embassy in London, demanding that the courts act in accordance with justice and free the Tzotzil teacher, who has worked throughout his time in prison in support of other innocent indigenous prisoners. The letter was from The UK Zapatista Solidarity Network, which represents groups and individuals from many parts of the British Isles, who have already been busy writing to the courts in Mexico, where a motion for the recognition of Patishtán’s innocence will soon be considered.

edinburgh4At the same time, Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group held a stall in central Edinburgh to inform local people of the situation of Alberto Patishtan. Around half a dozen group members distributed hundreds of leaflets to passers-by, urging support for Alberto and asking people to sign the online petition. A banner declaring FREEDOM FOR ALBERTO PATISHTAN – MEXICAN POLITICAL PRISONER was displayed. Members of the public stopped to discuss the issue as the stall continued for over three hours in the spring sunshine. The stall also distributed material on the Zapatista struggle for autonomy and packets of Zapatista coffee.

Protests have been taking place all over the world today, Patishtán’s 42nd birthday. The upcoming court hearing represents his last chance of freedom; otherwise he will spend the next 48 years in prison, unjustly accused of crimes he did not commit. Unfortunately it is common in Chiapas for indigenous people to be tortured and imprisoned unjustly on fabricated evidence after rigged trials. Patishtán, who was a community organiser who struggled for the rights of his people before his arrest, has suffered numerous violations of his human and legal rights during the period of his imprisonment. Many witnesses testify that he was elsewhere when the crime, an ambush in which seven police were killed, was committed, and those responsible remain unpunished.

Calling for the immediate freedom of Alberto Patishtán today, a representative of the UK Network said “His only crime was to struggle for liberty, justice and dignity for the poor and indigenous”.

 

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Prison No. 5
San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas
March 19, 2013

TO THE UNITED KINGDOM SOLIDARITY NETWORK

TO MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE IN EL BARRIO, NEW YORK

Compañeras and compañeros from the same cause, I hereby take this
opportunity to send you my combative greetings, while always praying that
God will guide you and that any work you do will lead to triumph and
victory.

Brothers and Sisters, it is is an honour to write to you and to know that
you are always alert to what is happening; today I just want to tell you
that in coming days we will be holding actions in the prison together with
Solidarity with the Voice of Amate, the aim always being to demand justice
and freedom for all.

Well Friends, continue onwards, there is no shortage of reasons to fight, be
very encouraged, for victory will be ours; from this March 20 to April 17
everyone is called to fight, especially against this injustice which has
been done by the ministers in Mexico.

That is all for now, may we all follow the truth.

sincerely

Political Prisoner from the Voice of el Amate
Alberto Patishtán Gómez

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November 3, 2012

“Zapata Vive” Echoed In Front Of The Mexican Embassy In London

With chants “Zapata vive, la lucha sigue!” and “El pueblo unido jamás será vencido!” a group of supporters of the Zapatistas gathered to protest in front of the Mexican embassy against the repressions on the communities in resistance carried out in the last few months. The protesters demanded end of the attacks and release of the political prisoners jailed by the Bad Government.
Petar Stanchev, from the Zapatista Solidarity Group – Essex, said “we are here for the light of tomorrow, for a world in which many worlds fit, for a world where capitalism doesn’t threaten us with complete destruction and being indigenous, homosexual, migrant or woman is not a crime”.
The protest was part of the global campaign “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas”. In addition, numerous solidarity groups from London such as the Tawantinsuyo Nation group and the Yosoy132 London group took part in the demonstration in support of the recently attacked zapatista communities. Alberto, from the Yosoy132 reminded us of Subcomandante’s Marcos words on the indigenous struggle and the recognition of the Other as an equal. Amaru from Tawantinsuyo Nation spoke about the importance of our indigenous roots and identity in the struggle for world recognition and economic redistribution, as well as the liberation from our colonized mentalities and the eurocentric ideas that we have about the justice.
The Worldwide Declaration, signed by hundreds of Zapatista supporters was handed to the embassy with a clear message condemning the paramilitary attacks and the government that stays behind them.
In the last few months a violent campaign of several paramilitary groups, backed by the Mexican state resulted in attacking, threatening and intimidating peaceful Zapatista communities. Meanwhile, the state itself continued the policy of holding political prisoners and caged with fake allegations new companeros whose only guilt is rejecting the neoliberal system of oppression, poverty and exploitation and creating an alternative to it.
 Photos of protest here:
Video message from the Zapatista Solidarity Group – Essex here:

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October 15, 2012

CITIES OF THE WORLD MAKE A “WORLDWIDE ECHO IN SUPPORT OF THE ZAPATISTAS” ON THE DAY OF INDIGENOUS RESISTANCE

Filed under: Movement for Justice in el BarrioRepressionZapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:21 pm

CITIES OF THE WORLD MAKE A “WORLDWIDE ECHO IN SUPPORT OF THE ZAPATISTAS” ON THE DAY OF INDIGENOUS RESISTANCE

** Encouraging protests at, and a siege of, Mexican embassies

** In London a demand for the freedom of Francisco Sántiz López is delivered

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, October 13, 2012

In the heat of the commemorations of the Day of Indigenous Resistance (which is usually called “Día de la Raza” or of the “Discovery” of America, terms now discredited), in a large number of the world’s cities a new stage of actions “From truth to Action, stopping the Repression” begins, as part of the “Worldwide Echo in support of the Zapatistas” campaign, which for months has promoted protests, solidarity actions and a siege of our country’s diplomatic seats, in defence of the Zapatista communities attacked by paramilitaries and members of political parties in the state’s indigenous regions.

In London, activists delivered a pronouncement to the Mexican Embassy signed by dozens of collectives and social organizations of Germany, Argentina, Canada, Spanish State (Catalonia, Castile, Basque Country), Great Britain, Chile, the United States, France, Greece, Italy, Guatemala, New Zealand, as well as the International Secretariat of the Tribunal of Conscience of the Peoples in Movement.

Meanwhile, in recent weeks solidarity committees have been formed with Zapatista communities and their political prisoners and those of the Other Campaign in places as dissimilar as Colombia, India (Calcutta), Brazil (Río Grande do Sul), South Africa (Johannesburg), the United Kingdom (Dorset, Bristol, London, Edinburgh) and the United States (Portland and New York). #YoSoy132 groups in Chihuahua, Puebla, the Federal District and other states of the country have also been added.

In New York, the Movement for Justice in El Barrio sent a declaration of support to the Zapatista communities under attack: Comandante Abel, San Marcos Avilés, Guadalupe Los Altos, Moisés Gandhi and Unión Hidalgo.

The declaration delivered in London, which will also be taken to Mexican offices in other countries, demands the immediate freedom of Francisco Sántiz López, Zapatista support base from Tenejapa,  imprisoned “due to a flagrant abuse of justice” nine months ago. And it states “We see with deep concern, and demand an immediate end to, the prolonged acts of aggression and intimidation, and the human rights abuses that are being committed against the Zapatista support bases in San Marcos Avilés community (Chilón)”.

They emphasize “the grave new threats” made against this community in recent days by representatives of the political parties (PVEM, PRI, PRD). “The most worrisome include open and brazen threats of displacement and physical violence, just like the climate of hostility which they promote.”

With respect to Francisco Sántiz López, Zapatista support base from Tenejapa detained in December 2011 under false accusations, those signing support “the evidence collected by the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre and recounted by various witnesses”, to the effect that he was never present in Banavil on December 4, 2011, during some violent acts that produced two unexplained deaths. “His false imprisonment and the refusal of the local authorities to examine this evidence indicate that the judicial system in Chiapas is “wielded as a tool of political repression against those who struggle for justice”.

——————————-

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Sunday, October 14, 2012

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2012/10/14/politica/017n1pol

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UK Joins Worldwide Echo In Support Of Zapatistas

  Mexican Embassy in LondonFriday the 12th October 2012, a letter was delivered to the Mexican Embassy in London signed by all the UK groups that stand in solidarity with the Zapatistas.
The letter contained a declaration that is also signed by 111 organisations and 163 individuals from 24 different countries, all of whom have been shocked by the acts of violence, abuse, intimidation and harassment currently being directed against the Zapatista support base communities in Chiapas, Mexico. These are in violation of their right to autonomy as indigenous peoples, as enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the Mexican government has signed.The UK groups chose October 12th as the day to present the letter because it is the Day of Indigenous Resistance, which marks the 520th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas (and the start of the colonial endeavour to destroy the indigenous peoples of these lands). The date also marks the beginning of the second phase of the ‘Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas’ campaign.The Zapatistas first came to international attention in January 1994 when they rose up against 500 years of oppression against indigenous peoples, as well against the NAFTA agreement that came into force that month. They later collectivised their land and became something of a cause celebre amongst the anti-globalisation movement.But in recent years these communities in resistance have suffered an increasing number of attacks by government-backed paramilitary groups with a number of Zapatista members being imprisoned for crimes they have not committed.In the short time since the international declaration was first drafted in July, 83 members of two villages have been displaced after being attacked by paramilitaries with firearms, openly supported by the local authorities and police force.

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October 13, 2012

WORLDWIDE DECLARATION DELIVERED TO THE MEXICAN EMBASSY IN LONDON

As part of the International Campaign: “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas”
http://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/

PROTEST AT THE MEXICAN EMBASSY IN LONDON

WORLDWIDE DECLARATION DELIVERED

Today, being the first day of the second phase, “From Truth to Action, Stopping the Repression”, of the “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas” campaign, and also the Day of Indigenous Resistance, a protest was organised at the Mexican Embassy in London, England, by activists from Bristol and Dorset, against the attacks by the bad government of Mexico against the Zapatista communities. News had just broken of a new attack on the community of Guadalupe los Altos, and the imprisonment of 6 Zapatistas.
The following document was delivered to the Embassy:

THE WORLDWIDE DECLARATION IN SUPPORT OF THE ZAPATISTAS

The UK Zapatista Solidarity Network, representing groups, individuals and collectives from throughout the United Kingdom, hereby send this message to accompany our presentation of the ‘Worldwide Declaration in support of the Zapatistas of Chiapas, Mexico’ to the Embassy of Mexico in London, England.

We are delivering the Declaration today, Friday 12th October, 2012, because it is the Day of Indigenous Resistance, and marks the 520th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas, and the start of the colonial endeavour to destroy the indigenous peoples of these lands. This date also marks the beginning of the second phase of the ‘Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas’ campaign.

The Declaration has been signed by 112 organisations and 162 individuals from 24 different countries, all of whom are shocked and appalled at the blatant acts of violence, abuse, intimidation, harassment and attrition currently being directed against the Zapatista support base communities in Chiapas, Mexico, in violation of their inalienable right to autonomy as indigenous peoples, as enshrined in the internationally recognized ILO Convention No. 169 and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, both of which the government of Mexico has signed.

Since this Declaration was issued in July 2012, there has been an alarming escalation in acts of aggression against Zapatista communities, and 83 members of two villages remain displaced more than five weeks after being attacked by paramilitary groups with firearms, openly supported by the local authorities and police force.

We wish to reiterate our horror and dismay that a government which seeks to portray itself as a model of liberty and justice could openly support such hostilities against its own indigenous people.

WORLDWIDE DECLARATION DEMANDING JUSTICE FOR THE ZAPATISTA COMMUNITIES AND FREEDOM FOR FRANCISCO SÁNTIZ LÓPEZ

We view with profound concern, and demand an immediate end to, the continued acts of intimidation and aggression and the human rights abuses being committed against members of the Zapatista support base community in San Marcos Avilés, official municipality of Chilón, Chiapas, Mexico. We also call for the immediate liberation of the Zapatista political prisoner Francisco Sántiz López, who has been jailed since December 2011 in a flagrant abuse of justice.

Responding to the numerous denouncements and calls issued by the Zapatista Good Government Junta of Oventic and the community of San Marcos Avilés, we manifest in this declaration our solidarity with our brothers and sisters there, as well as with Francisco Sántiz López.

We are aware of the very serious new threats being made against the community of San Marcos Avilés by representatives of political parties in the area. Of particular concern are the open and blatant threats of displacement, physical violence, and the on-going climate of hostility promoted by these individuals. We consider such reprehensible aggression to be extremely serious in light of the events of September 2010, when vigilantes from the Green Ecological Party of Mexico (PVEM), the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), led by Lorenzo Ruiz Gómez and Vicente Ruiz López, attacked Zapatista support bases, displacing 170 people and destroying their property and crops.
In relation to the case of Francisco Sántiz López, a Zapatista support base from the Banavil ejido of Tenejapa, who was originally detained in December 2011 under false charges of having orchestrated a conflict in Banavil, we affirm the evidence collected by the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre and recounted by several witnesses, that he indeed was not present at the location where the events took place on 4th December 2011. His false imprisonment and the continued refusal of local authorities to examine this evidence are, in our view, further indication that the judicial system in Chiapas is wielded as tool of political repression against those who struggle for justice.

In respect to current events in San Marcos Avilés, we demand:

· An immediate end to all death threats, verbal and physical harassment, and threats against the property and well-being of the Zapatista Support Base members by elements of the political parties in the San Marcos Avilés ejido

· Protection for the life and safety of the Zapatista support base members of San Marcos Avilés

· Respect for the Zapatista Support Base community’s inalienable right to autonomy as indigenous peoples, as enshrined in the internationally recognized ILO Convention No. 169 and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, both of which the government of Mexico has signed

In respect of the case of Zapatista support base Francisco Sántiz López, we demand his immediate and unconditional release, as well as a swift investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators of violence in Banavil, Tenejapa Municipality, Chiapas.

To our brothers and sisters suffering injustice and violence in Chiapas, we remind you that your struggle is not carried out in silence, nor is it invisible. Indeed, countless individuals, organizations, and communities from around the world remain vigilant regarding your situation and have joined an international campaign in solidarity with your struggle. For our part, from cities across the world we send you a warm embrace, to let you know that we know who you are and what you are fighting for, and to say that we will do whatever we can to support you. We will all continue to make an echo of your just demands, an echo that resonates with the collective heartbeat of the earth.

To view the full list of signatures: http://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/worldwide-declaration/

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October 9, 2012

Statement From The UK Zapatista Solidarity Network

The UK Zapatista Solidarity Network welcomes the new Call to Action from the “Worldwide Echo in support of the Zapatistas” campaign. The Network offers its full support both to the Campaign, and to its Second Phase “from truth to action: stopping the repression”, which starts on 12th October.

In view of the alarming increase in levels of violence, the complete impunity with which the attacks are being carried out, and the threats to the lives and personal integrity of the Zapatista support bases, we believe it is imperative for us all to take action in whatever way we can.

UK Zapatista Solidarity Network                                                              October 2012

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24th September, 2012

LAST HOPE FOR FREEDOM FOR INNOCENT PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE, BLINDED BY THE MEXICAN STATE

Letters were delivered to Mexican embassies and consulates throughout the world on Monday 24th September, in support of the indigenous Tzotzil teacher and prisoner of conscience, Alberto Patishtán Gómez, from Chiapas, Mexico. He has now been imprisoned for twelve years for a crime it has been proven he could not have committed, but numerous appeals have been turned down or ignored, and the many national and international organisations involved in his defence believe this is their final hope for his release.

On Wednesday 26th September, a Motion for the Recognition of Innocence was presented before the Judges of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Mexican Nation, in favour of Alberto. The need for this is desperate, as it has just been identified by his doctors that Alberto has lost 90% of his vision, due to medical neglect while in prison. The letter, which was sent by post, fax, email, and delivered by hand to the Mexican ambassador in London, asks the ambassador to urgently forward a letter to each of the Justices of the Court requesting they accept the motion.

The request for this international action came from Alberto himself, in a letter written for him by a fellow prisoner in Penitentiary no 5 in San Cristόbal de las Casas, where he is currently serving his sixty year sentence. In the letter, he urges his supporters to “keep on struggling for truth and justice”.

Alberto’s case has become emblematic in Mexico, where the newspaper La Jornada has characterized him as “the most important prisoner of conscience in the country”. His human rights activism in prison has led to the founding of two groups representing political prisoners, and the whole of his small community, el Bosque, is behind him. Recently 2,500 members of this community marched through the streets demanding his release. They know that he was elsewhere at the time the crime, the ambush of a police convoy, took place, and they also know why he was falsely accused of this crime. Alberto was one of the signatories to a document demanding the removal of the very unpopular municipal president; this president’s son was the only witness testifying to Albert’s guilt. The son later admitted he had been lying on the instructions of his father, in return for the gift of a pickup truck.

Letters from around the UK were delivered to the embassy, including ones from groups based in Edinburgh, Bristol, Manchester, Bradford, London and Bournemouth. A telephone call to the embassy revealed that the Counciller for Political affairs, Miguel Garcia Zamudio, would be “addressing the matter as soon as possible”.

Esther MacDonald from the UK Chiapas Support Network said, “in cities from Bilbao to Montreal, New York to Japan, and London and Paris to Argentina, as well as throughout Mexico, people are calling for truth and justice to prevail, for Alberto’s innocence to be recognised, and for him to be free to return to his family and community who are waiting for him with love. It is has now been revealed that his blindness results from a totally untreated brain tumour; if there is any justice in the world, he will surely be freed”.

Tragically, the court has still to resolve the issue, having postponed its decision until next week. Alberto has now been hospitalised.

For the photos se:    http://www.demotix.com/news/1475689/campaign-free-alberto-patishtan-jail#media-1475637

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May 8, 2012

SEND A LETTER IN SUPPORT OF THE CHIAPAS POLITICAL PRISONERS 15 – 22 MAY!

JOIN the Week of Actions for Alberto and Francisco! WRITE to the nearest office, Embassy, or Consulate of the bad government of Mexico! RAISE your voices in support of Chiapas political prisoners!

As part of the Week of Worldwide Struggle for the Liberation of Alberto Patishtán Gómez and Francisco Sántiz López: bringing down the prison walls, groups from throughout the UK have written a letter to the President of Mexico calling for the freedom of the two indigenous political prisoners from the state of Chiapas.

Professor Alberto Patishtán Gómez is a Tzotzil prisoner of conscience who has spent 12 years behind bars. Last October he was transferred to the federal prison in Guasave, Sinaloa, for participating in a hunger strike demanding his freedom and that of a dozen indigenous prisoners in Chiapas. Francisco Sántiz López is a Tzeltal fruit seller who has been an EZLN base of support for 20 years. He was imprisoned in February for crimes he did not commit.

The week of struggle, called by the Movement for Justice in El Barrio from the Other Campaign New York and backed by the Patishtán family, will take place from 15 to 22 May. As part of the actions planned, UK-based groups plan to send this letter to the Mexican Embassy and Consulate in London, and are now calling on other groups, collectives, organisations and all people of good will to join them in writing letters to demand freedom and justice for Francisco and Alberto, and for all prisoners of conscience unjustly deprived of their liberty for political reasons.

Here is the letter to be sent by the UK Network. Please feel free to adapt this letter or write your own. Please send a copy to:Movimientoporjusticiadelbarrio@yahoo.com 

so that all our actions can be fully publicised and so the prisoners can know they have our support. Make sure a copy goes to the nearest office, Embassy, or Consulate of the bad government of Mexico. If you can deliver it by hand, that would be even better. There are some useful addresses below.

HE Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza, Mexican Ambassador to UK

Embassy of Mexico

16 St George Street

London

W1S 1FD

Dear Ambassador,

We the undersigned, from the United Kingdom, view with deep concern and anger how people in Mexico who are organizing to struggle for and defend their rights are punished with imprisonment.

Governments lock them away trying to condemn them to oblivion, silence and submission. But their voices and their example reach us loudly and clearly from the prisons – through the voices of our brothers Alberto Patishtán and Francisco Sántiz Lopez.

We know that they are not guilty because they are committed social activists whose innocence has been documented by human rights centres and defenders.

Alberto Patishtan has been imprisoned since 2000. Prison has become his base of struggle, where he has not only borne his punishment with dignity, but also organized many other political prisoners to attain their freedom. As a result, he has been sent to different prisons. He was transferred to his current location, in Guasave, Sinaloa, as punishment for his participation in the latest hunger strike, which was undertaken in Chiapas in 2011. We know that Alberto Patishtan has become a symbolic figure for social movements in Chiapas, Mexico and the world. We also know that because of his dignified rebellion the Mexican state affords him an especial brutality.

Francisco Sántiz Lopez has committed the crime of being a Base of Support of the EZLN. This is the reason that he is in prison, not for the crime he is alleged to have committed in December 2011 in Banavil, Tenejapa. This is proven by the fact that Francisco was not even at the scene of the crime, as has been amply demonstrated.For these reasons we demand immediate and unconditional liberty for Alberto Patishtan, Francisco Sántiz and all political prisoners in Chiapas and Mexico. Prison, repression and impunity cannot and must not continue to rule in Mexico.

Yours faithfully

UK Zapatista Solidarity Network

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3rd December, 2011

Zapatista Solidarity Demonstration

Global Weekend of action in resistance to Slaughter in Chiapas.
2pm outside Mexican embassy
Calderon’s government has increased its attack on the Zapatista struggle. The Mexican state is slaughtering innocent citizens, destroying schools and illegally detaining activists in Chiapas and across the country.In response to this The Other Campaign has called for a global day of action. There will be a mobilisation at 4:00pm (10:00pm GMT) in Mexico City. Let the Mexican Government see that the whole world is against their regime of brutality with images of resistance from Capital cities including London.Gather at 2pm outside the Mexican Embassy 16 St. George Street, Lon W1S 1FD
About 5 mins from Oxford Circus.Sound-system included

UK Zapatista Solidarity

Given the repressive onslaught of the federal and state governments in this country against the Zapatista Support Base compañer@s (BAZ) in Chiapas; against the compañer@s of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) in Ostula, Michoacán, where the compañero Pedro Leyva was killed; in Cheran, where our compañer@s are defending the forests against the illegal logging which is supported by the local authorities; in Oaxaca, where the killings in the Triqui region do not stop; an end to the harassment of the Coca people in the town of Mezcala, Jalisco and in other parts of the country where they struggle against capitalist plunder, as is the case of the Wixárika and Yaqui peoples. Also, given the actions in resistance undertaken by our compañer@s political prisoners in Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guerrero, to demand their freedom and the presentation alive of our missing political activist compañer@s. We also demand an end to the systematic femicides of sex workers throughout the republic and the punishment of those responsible, to show our solidarity with the compañer@s of the Other Campaign in Juarez, attacked by the local brutes.

Therefore, within the framework of the campaign ‘a thousand rages, one heart, the Zapatista communities live!’, we call on everyone to mobilize on the 3rd and 4th of December, so that, according to our own ways of doing things, we can all perform activities in our own places to show our solidarity with the organizations and individuals who are part of the Other Campaign in the country [Mexico] and who are, or have been, victims of government violence, and to demonstrate our opposition to the repression of the Mexican state which murders, kidnaps, and illegally detains social activists who are in opposition to its policies of dispossession, exploitation and death.

The mobilization of our forces in the country will help free our prisoners, rescue our disappeared, identify the killers and impart justice. We fight against the impunity of a corrupt political regime which is unable to offer our people the solutions they require to live well and in peace.

The struggle of the Zapatista compañer@s shows that there is another way, yes you can live well, with security and wellbeing. So they attack them, fear them, and try to destroy their schools and clinics, they do not want the example to spread. This is why the struggle to change things in this country requires our commitment, militant activism and solidarity with our Zapatista brothers and sisters, the CNI, the political prisoners and the disappeared.

We call on everyone to take the public squares of our cities on the 3rd and 4th December and raise our voices to demand:
STOP THE ATTACKS ON THE ZAPATISTA SUPPORT BASES

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London, 3 April, 2011

 

To our brothers and sisters from San Sebastian Bachajon,
To our Zapatista brothers and sisters,
To the members of the Other Campaign, from Mexico and abroad:

In an afternoon full of soft spring light, us, who do not believe in visas, passports or frontiers, came together. We gathered outside the Mexican Embassy in London to demand the immediate release of our 5 brothers from San Sebastian Bachajón. Many of us travelled long distances in order to be there, to show our support and respond to the call launched by Movimiento por Justicia en el Barrio. Just in front of the Embassy, with music and flyers, this action took place.

On Saturday, 2nd of April, we gathered as UK Zapatista Network and we watched the videos of San Sebastian Bachajón that our compass from MJB sent. The voices of our sisters in particular reached our hearts. We see in their strength and courage a great source of inspiration.

Previously, on Tuesday 29th March Glasgow and Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Groups presented a talk on the links between paramilitary attacks and corporate tourism developments in Chiapas.  The latest situation in San Sebastian Bachajón was mentioned and discussed.  The event at the Glasgow University Occupation was attended by about 50 people.  We will also be screening the 2nd Bachajon Videomessage at a public event at the Autonomous Centre Edinburgh on Tuesday 19th April along with other ‘Other Campaign’ films.

We know that the struggle of our brothers and sisters from Bachajón is a just and dignified struggle. We understand that those who govern from above want to intimidate you, in order for them to control you through fear, so that you accept the ingrained violence of dispossession. So that you stop reclaiming your rights and accept to walk with your head bent in submission.

How else can we explain the arbitrary detention of 117 people? What about the harassment by police and soldiers alike? How could it be possible that 5 people still remain in jail today?

But all the public relations work and campaigns of the Mexican government and of the Chiapas governor, Juan Sabines, do not fool anyone. Political prisoners are being used as hostages by the State in order to negotiate and bring down the struggle of San Sebastian Bachajón. Only through social mobilization we will be able to get them out of prison.

Brothers and sisters, your courage and rebelliousness are a great example for us. We want you to know that we are very proud of being able to call you that: brothers and sisters. We see a lot of hope and light coming out from that corner of the jungle in Chiapas called San Sebastián Bachajón. This light of hope is so strong that it reaches us all the way here.

We are with you, accompanying you in spite of the distance. We raise our voices with yours in order to demand the immediate release of our 5 brothers from Bachajón as well as the end of the repression towards the Other Campaign.

¡Freedom for the Bachajón 5 and all the other Political Prisoners!
¡Long live the organized resistance of San Sebastian Bachajón!
¡Long live the Other Campaign!
¡Long live the Zapatista communities!
UK Zapatista Network

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Stop the Repression of Indigenous Communities in Chiapas Mexico

Demonstration London April 1, 2011

Mexican Embassy,

16 St George Street,

Mayfair, London W1S 1FD.

Part of the 5 Days of Worldwide Action for the Bachajón 5 –

to contribute to the liberation of the 5 political prisoners of the Zapatista-initiated Other Campaign in San Sebastián Bachajón.

On 2 February, a day after the visit of President Felipe Calderón to Chiapas to promote the “Year of Tourism” in the state, there was a confrontation between a group of adherents to the Other Campaign and a group linked to the official authorities. The confrontation arose due to a dispute regarding a toll booth at the entrance of the famous Agua Azul waterfalls.

On 3 February 117 members of the Other Campaign were detained. 107 were released on 5 February.  5 others were released after national and international demonstrations, but 5 remain in prison. These compañeros were taken hostage, as part of a strategy to enable the bad government and multinational corporations to seize the natural resources from their ejido (communal farming land).

These recent arrest along with the threats and harassment that they received from the state police and prosecutors, as documented by the Human Rights Centre Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, shows once again that the Mexican Government is prepared to use State force in order to implement its development projects.

It is undeniable that what is at stake is the transformation of Agua Azul into a high revenue tourist complex that will economically benefit those in power and some private investors. However, in order to achieve this, the ejidatarios of Bachajón, who are defending their land and their territory, are in the way.

Oblivious to the reports and news wires that portray Mexico as a country devastated by a Drug War, the Mexican Government still wants to go ahead with projects that will promote the country as a tourist paradise, even if this means the implementation of policies that violate human rights or the use of violence in order to placate social discontent.

European tourists visiting the area will have to know that their sightseeing has been constructed through dispossession, harassment and intimidation. Futhermore, a modern democracy cannot afford to have political prisoners and the ejidatarios of San Sebastian Bachajón can certainly be called so.

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11th February, 2011

Letter in support of prisoners from San Sebastian Bachajon

The recent arrest of common landholders (ejidatarios) from San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas along with the threats and harassment that they received from the state police and prosecutors, as documented by the Human Rights Centre Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, shows once again that the Mexican Government is prepared to use State force in order to implement its development projects when the people from the communities directly affected by such projects do not agree with them.

It is undeniable that what is at stake is the transformation of Agua Azul into a high revenue tourist complex that will economically benefit those in power and some private investors. However, in order to achieve this, the ejidatarios of Bachajón, who are defending their land and their territory, are in the way.

Oblivious to the reports and news wires that portray Mexico as a country devastated by a Drug War (“2010 was the bloodiest year so far, with 15,273 drug-related murders” according to the BBC News Website[1]), the Mexican Government still wants to go ahead with projects that will promote the country as a tourist paradise, even if this means the implementation of policies that violate human rights or the use of violence in order to ease social tension.

European tourists visiting the area will have to know that their sightseeing has been constructed through dispossession, harassment and intimidation. Furthermore, a modern democracy cannot afford to have political prisoners and the ejidatarios of San Sebastian Bachajón can certainly be described as such.

We, in London, Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh, Bradford, Glasgow and Leeds, will be following this case closely, and we expect the Mexican Government to guarantee that the Human Rights of the detainees are respected as well as their immediate release.

Sincerely,

UK Zapatista Network

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Freedom and Justice for Atenco – report of London Demonstration 29 June 2010

Demonstrators calling for freedom for the Atenco prisoners in Mexico protested for over 3 and a half hours in front of the Mexican Embassy in London today 29th June 2010. The protest was part of an International Day of Action, coinciding with the Supreme Court of Justice of the Mexican Nation meeting to decide the future of 12 political prisoners from the small town of San Salvador Atenco near Mexico City.

Protestors defied police to take up position directly in front of the Embassy entrance, refusing police orders to move to the opposite side of the road. After around 20 minutes the possibility of arrest under the Public Order Act forced the dozen or so demonstrators to move a few yards back to a traffic island in the middle of the road.

Nevertheless leafleting continued right in front of the Embassy while Mexican revolutionary songs blasted out a message of defiance. Certainly the Embassy authorities were well aware of the protest as their Security officers were filming and photographing demonstrators.

“The Atenco prisoners have been imprisoned for the crime of standing up for the poor peasant farmers of the area,” said Esther McDonald of the UK Zapatista Solidarity Network, who organised the protest. “It was the representatives of the state who committed violent atrocities at Atenco: Amnesty International has detailed shocking systematic sexual assaults and rapes by the police on 26 women during and after the police assault on Atenco in May 2006.”

The events of 3rd /4th May 2006 were sparked off when police tried to arrest peasant farmers selling flowers in the street. When locals went to the flower-sellers aid and drove off the police, a massive state force gathered and then invaded Atenco. Police killed two youths, Alexis Benhumea and Francisco Javier Cortes, and arrested over 200 people. Dozens of homes were invaded without warrants, and hundreds of people were tear-gassed and beaten. Police subjected 26 women to serious sexual assaults, including rape, in attacks described by Amnesty International as “torture”.

The UK Zapatista Solidarity Network handed in letters, in both Spanish and English, for Ambassador Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza calling for “freedom and justice for the Atenco 12 and all political prisoners”. Twelve people are serving sentences of up to 112 years.

People had travelled from round Britain to demand liberty for the prisoners from the Peoples Front for the Defence of the Land, with protestors from Devon, Dorset, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Norwich and Sheffield joining London residents at the Embassy in Saint George Street, central London. Demonstrators held coloured paper flowers, to reflect the fact that the state attack began when the people organised to stop the violent expulsion of flower vendors from a central square in nearby Texcoco. 500 leaflets were distributed to passers-by as demonstrators displayed a giant banner FREE THE ATENCO PRISONERS.

THE AMBASSADOR’S ROLE

The leaflets (and the letter handed in to the Ambassador) also revealed the role Ambassador Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza himself had played in the infamous events: Sr. Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza, currently Mexican Ambassador to the UK, was the Federal Secretary of Public Security.. at the time of the assault on Atenco, which he may have ordered and commanded. In 2009, the same Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation that is currently deciding the fate of the 12 prisoners, declared that neither Sr. Medina-Mora (who by now had been promoted to the position of Attorney General of the Republic) nor the Governor of the State of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, were in any way responsible for any of the human rights violations that took place in Atenco on 3rd and 4th May 2006. Only one of the eleven ministers who made the decision held Medina-Mora responsible for “failure to monitor the actions of the security services”. In fact, as Attorney General he failed to prosecute anyone for the human rights abuses committed by those
security services.

One of the demonstrators said: “The prisoners from the Peoples Front for the Defence of the Land deserve the solidarity of everyone who cares about justice. Their heroic struggle to successfully stop the construction of a new airport for Mexico City on their land is an inspiration to all who believe human needs must come before profit. The state can’t be allowed to get away with this political persecution.”

In their leaflets and publicity the UK Zapatista Solidarity Network declared that today’s demonstration was also in support of the autonomous communities under attack in Mexico today, including San Juan Copala in Oaxaca and the Zapatista communities in Chiapas.

UK Zapatista Solidarity Network https://ukzapatistas.wordpress.com

Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group
http://www.edinchiapas.org.uk edinchiapas@yahoo.co.uk

London Mexico Solidarity Group
http://www.londonmexicosolidarity.org
londonmexicosolidarity@lists.aktivix.org>

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Free the Atenco 12! London Demonstration

Demonstrations are taking place on the 29th June 2010 in cities throughout the world, because the Supreme Court of Justice of the Mexican nation (SCJN) is meeting to decide the future of 12 political prisoners from the small Mexican town of San Salvador Atenco who are currently serving sentences of up to 112 years.

On the 3rd and 4th of May of 2006, in one of the worst cases of police brutality in recent Mexican history, more than 3,500 agents of the Mexican security services attacked the population of San Salvador Atenco. The attack began when the people organised to stop the violent expulsion of flower vendors from a central square innearby Texcoco, near Mexico City.

During this attack the police and military forces killed two youths, Alexis Benhumea and Francisco Javier Cortes. 207 people were arrested, many of whom were tortured, dozens of homes were invaded without warrants, and hundreds of people were tear-gassed and beaten. Amnesty International has detailed and condemned the horrific systematic rape and sexual assault of 26 women by the police at this time; many of these attacks occurred while the women were being transported to prison.

DEMAND THE RELEASE OF THE 12 POLITICAL PRISONERS OF ATENCO

CONTACT THE MEXICAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UK:
Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza, Mexican Ambassador to UK,16 St. George St, Mayfair,
London W1S 1FD
Tel: +44 (0)20 7499 8586, Fax: +44 (0)20 7495 4035
Email: emedinamora@sre.gob.mx

CONTACT THE SUPREME COURT OF JUSTICE IN MEXICO:
Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación,
Pino Suárez Número 2, Colonia Delegación Cuauhtémoc, C.P. 06065, México,
Distrito Federal.
Email: SCJN@mail.scjn.gob.mx
Tel: +52 (55) 5490-8000

CONTACT THE PRESIDENT OF MEXICO:
Felipe Calderón, President of Mexico, Presidencia de La Republica, Residencia
Oficial de Los Pinos, Puerta Central, Mexico, DF 11850,
Fax: +52 55 55 22 34 26
E-mail: felipe.calderon@presidencia.gob.mx

FURTHER INFORMATION

In English:

Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group
London Mexico Solidarity Group

In Spanish:

Libertad y Justicia para Atenco
FPDT

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17th April. 2010

Denunciation of the murderous attack on the San Juan Copala peace caravan

To Whom It May Concern,

A day before the terrible events that took place on 27th April 2010 near the community of San Juan Copala, Oaxaca, we received a communique from the groups and individuals who were going to participate in the international aid caravan travelling in convoy towards that community.

The Caravan participants informed us of the daily state of terror in which the residents of this autonomous community have been living, and their urgent need of support through the presence of members of civil society, both Mexicans and internationals.

With deep sorrow we learn of the murders of Tyri Antero Jaakkola, who as an international human rights observer answered the call of the caravan, and of Beatriz Alberta Cariño Trujillo, director of CACTUS (Oaxacan organisation, the Centre for Community Support Working Together) and member of the Southeast Mexican Indigenous Community Radio Network. We demand that the truth be made known concerning the circumstances of their deaths and that those guilty of this crime be brought to justice.  Further we demand the immediate safe return of all those persons who were on the caravan and currently are still missing.

We hold the Mexican state and the illegal government of Ulises Ruiz responsible for these heinous acts. We demand that he cease his lies, that he stop claiming that this was a confrontation between two different groups, when in fact it is common knowledge that this was an operation by paramilitary groups who function under the patronage and protection of his government.

We demand the lifting of the blockade of the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala, and an end to the attacks against this community.
UK Zapatista Solidarity Network – groups and individuals from Bradford, Bristol, Dorset, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Stirling.
Emails denouncing the attack can be sent from this human rights website.
More information on the attack and how to register your dissent can be found on the EdinChiapas website.

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Statement in defence of Bolon Ajaw from the national meeting of the UK Zapatista Solidarity Network

Edinburgh, 17th April 2010

We view with great concern the attacks by the paramilitary group OPPDIC on the Zapatista village of Bolon Ajaw, near Agua Azul, Chiapas, in particular the shooting of villagers including children, on the 6th of February 2010.

We express our total solidarity with the people of Bolon Ajaw in their defence of Madre Tierra and we hold the Mexican Government and the State Authorities responsible for any attacks that may be made against them.

We are aware that the attacks on Bolon Ajaw are not random events but are carried out by state-backed paramilitaries as part of a government strategy of repression and war against the indigenous communities.

We demand that the Government and State Authorities respect the indigenous people’s right to Autonomy.

UK Zapatista Solidarity Network – groups and individuals from Bradford, Bristol, Dorset, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Stirling.

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1st UK Speaking Tour of New York’s ‘Movement for Justice in El Barrio’ – May 2008

Movement for Justice in El Barrio (MJB) are a community organisation fighting the effects of neoliberalism and discrimination in all their forms, particularly fighting against the gentrification of their neighbourhood where multi-millionaire multi-national property developers want to force them from their homes. Having allready grown in three years from just a few members to 400+, kicked out the biggest landlord in East Harlem, held a massive and succesful consultation with the neighbourhood and organised the first NYC ‘encounter’ against gentrification and for humanity, attended by over 27 organisations, MJB are now taking on their London based landlord, Dawnay Day Group.

Recognising that their enemy is transnational, MJB aim to make their resistance the same, by uniting with others around the world and especially across the UK, to fight against Dawnay Day and gentrification and for social justice. To this end, Juan Haro from MJB is touring the UK in May, speaking about their organising model, their fight against gentrification and their links with Mexican rebels, the Zapatistas. He also hopes to hear from other communities and activists fighting similar struggles and to swap experiences. So, Juan hopes to meet you in your town soon!

See below for all events confirmed so far, donations VERY gratefully received at all events! Thanks!

Sheffield

– Wednesday 7th May, 7:00pm at the SADACCA Centre, 48 The Wicker, Sheffield.

Manchester

– Thursday 8th May, 7:30pm at the Town Hall Tavern, Tib Lane.

Liverpool

– Friday 9th May, meeting local anti-gentrification campaigners and touring their areas in afternoon, followed by meeting with Liverpool Social Centre Collective, then public event in the evening (details TBC)

Bristol

– Sunday 11th May, 7.30pm at Bridewell Police Station, Entrance on Silver Street (don’t worry, its not a cop shop anymore!)

Brighton

– Monday 12th May, 7.30pm at Cowley Club Social Centre.

Cardiff

– Wednesday 14th May, Details TBC

Aberdeen

– Friday 16th May, at Aberdeen University in New Kings Building, Room 11 at 7pm.

Glasgow

– Saturday 17th May, 2-4pm at Pearce Institute, 840 – 860 Govan Road. G51 3UU (100 metres from Govan Underground). As part of wider ‘radical bookfair’ collaborative event: http://www.ribproject.org/

Edinburgh

– Sunday 18th May, 7pm at Quaker Meeting House, Victoria Terrace (off Lawnmarket at top of Royal Mile in city centre) venue fully accessible (ramp and lift)

– Tuesday 20th May – Details TBC.

Reading

– Wednesday 21st May, 7pm at RISC, 35-39 London Street (www.risc.org.uk for directions)

London

– Saturday 24th May, 7pm at ‘Passingclouds’, Richmond Road, Dalston, Hackney, London followed by latin bands ( will update with full details ) organised by Movimiento ( pay in probably £5 ). Contact hackneysolidarity@hotmail.co.uk for more info.

For info about the tour, email rgacollective@hotmail.co.uk. Cheers and solidarity!

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UK Chiapas Demonstration – Monday 10th December 2007 

PROTEST AGAINST RECENT REPRESSION IN ZAPATISTA COMMUNITIES  

DEMONSTRATORS BLOCKADE MEXICAN EMBASSY IN LONDON

MONDAY 10TH DECEMBER 2007

London demo

Demonstrators blockaded both the Mexican Embassy and Mexican Consulate in London, in solidarity with the Zapatistas and in opposition to the attacks on their communities by the state and paramilitaries.

The waiting police were caught by surprise at the Embassy in St Georges Street. Wearing the symbolic Zapatista red bandanas, demonstrators took over the doorway and draped a huge banner saying ‘STOP THE REPRESSION’ right across the front entrance, maintaining this position for several minutes. Then police moved in and manhandled the protestors over to the other side of the road, where the noisy protest continued. Deafening whistle blasts were interspersed with chants of “Zapata vive, la lucha sigue” (Zapata lives, the struggle continues).

Mexican Government forces evicted two indigenous villages in the Lacandona jungle on 18th August. What’s more the state is aiding paramilitary groups who are launching violent attacks on Zapatista villages,” said Esther McDonald of the UK Zapatista Solidarity Network. “Today’s demonstrations show that people all round the world are prepared to act in solidarity with the Zapatistas’ struggle for autonomy. The one thousand “communities in resistance” in Chiapas, with their autonomous health clinics and schools, are an inspiring example of people taking control over their own lives – but they are now under threat.”

We must act now to stop any possibility of another horrific massacre like Acteal when, on 22 December 1997, 45 people were massacred by paramilitaries with the connivance of Mexican state forces in the Chiapan Highlands,” she emphasised.

The protestors delivered a letter for the Ambassador, detailing the human rights abuses carried out in recent weeks against at least 21 Zapatista communities. On 24th November 80 members of the paramilitary-type group OPDIC invaded the village of Bolon Ajaw menacing the residents with guns and machetes and brutally beating a health worker unconscious.

After demonstrating at the Embassy for one and a half hours the protestors moved to the Mexican Consulate in nearby Halkin Street. The demonstrators were able to totally take over the entrance porch, once more completely closing off the entrance by draping banners right across it. The protestors controlled the entrance for around 15 minutes before the arrival of armed diplomatic police, who forced people to the other side of the road.

Among the 20-25 demonstrators were those who had travelled from York, Manchester, Dorset, Reading, Birmingham, Nottingham, Edinburgh and elsewhere to participate. The demonstration was organised by the UK Zapatista Solidarity Network and the new edition of the network’s newsletter was distributed, detailing not only the repression in Chiapas but the positive work of the Zapatistas and solidarity groups in building drinking water systems, health clinics and schools.

The Zapatista movement made world headlines when it staged an armed uprising in the southern state of Chiapas on New Years Day 1994, the day the North American Free Trade Agreement came into effect. Following the rebellion many of the big local landowners fled. The Zapatistas took the land into communal control and have built their own autonomous communities, with their own health clinics, schools, justice system and grass-roots decision-making structures.

More info:

The increase in militarisation and civil repression throughout Mexico since Felipe Calderon became president last year is reflected in Chiapas under new state governor Juan Sabines, where the federal government strategy to promote conflicts over land is fully supported by the state government. In Mexico as a whole many people believe a new ‘dirty war’ is under way with detentions and disappearances, while in Chiapas acts of violence, intimidation and aggression towards indigenous Zapatista support base communities have become a daily occurrence.

In September 2007 the EZLN 6th Commission took the difficult decision to suspend the second phase of the Other Campaign which was to visit the South and Central parts of the country, and instead to undertake civil and peaceful actions in defence of the Zapatista communities. Their communiqué says:

“At this time, the state government of Chiapas and the federal government are waging a campaign against the Zapatista communities. ‘Official’ evictions, paramilitary attacks, invasions sponsored by officials, persecutions and threats, have become once again part of the surroundings of the indigenous communities who have set upon constructing their own destiny and improving their living conditions, always without losing their indigenous identity….. Just like in the worst times …. the government is attacking the poor and needy, while catering to and benefiting the powerful. …. In contrast to other occasions, these aggressions have been met by the silence of those voices that before rose to protest and demand justice. …….. We will do what we have to do, resist.”

PARAMILITARY ORGANISATIONS

These are ‘peasant’ organisations with names like OPDDIC, ARIC, URIC and UES,which are undercover paramilitary groups going under the names of agricultural organisations. These have been re-activated and armed by the state in order to provoke confrontation with the Zapatistas through land seizures and forced evictions. Using these paramilitary groups, the state agrarian authorities have started a strategy of eviction of Zap communities from the 250,000 hectares of land in the Altos, Selva and Norte regions which were “recuperated” in 1994-5 following the uprising. The authorities are legalising these evictions with official documents making them into ‘ejidos’ (communal landholdings) in favour of the paramilitary organisations. The idea is to make the Zapatistas look like invaders, and to provoke conflicts in order to destroy the movement. They attack the basis of Zapatista autonomy, which is the land. The result is communities living under constant threats of eviction and violence, enduring the destruction of their crops and livestock and the theft of their possessions, and the undermining of any security or stability in their daily lives.

MONTES AZULES AND PLAN PUEBLA PANAMA

This ‘biosphere reserve’ is being plundered of its resources by national and multinational companies. The government expropriation of 14,000 hectares in the Lacandon Jungle in the interests of ‘ecology and conservation’ has recently led to the violent displacement of 2 communities (one of these a Zapatista support base community) and threatens 15 more Zapatista communities. Organisations like Amnesty International have condemned these evictions and called for a halt of expulsions in the area. It is believed by the local NGOs that the motives behind the expulsions, far from being in the interests of the natural environment, are to open the door for businesses to privatise and exploit the natural resources of the area.

There is also the question of ‘eco-tourism’, a highly profitable undertaking. As well as issuing the paramilitary groups with arms and ammunition, the authorities are also giving them permission to develop eco-tourism projects.

THE FEDERAL ARMY

There are now 79 permanent military camps in Chiapas, 56 of which are in the indigenous areas. A recent report by the San Cristobal-based NGO CAPISE states that the nature of the military in these camps is changing to ‘elite special forces’. The government hopes to provoke a confrontation with the army through this ongoing counter-insurgency war in order to finish with the Zapatistas altogether.

THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ACTEAL MASSACRE

There are fears that the situation of 1997, when the federal army together with armed paramilitary groups attempted to dismantle the Zapatista autonomous communities, is being repeated. On 22 December 1997 the attacks culminated in the massacre of 45 members, mainly women and children, of an unarmed pacifist group . Don Samuel Ruiz, Bishop Emeritus of the Chiapas Highlands, stated recently “in Chiapas repression is being offered, not dialogue. A massacre like that at Acteal could be repeated at any moment”.

ACTION

In a recent report CAPISE has called on people to break the silence. To remain silent is to support the repression.

It is necessary to state our concern and alarm at the recent increase in acts of intimidation and aggression, to condemn the militarisation of the area, and to demand a respect for human rights, a cessation in aggressions, a cancellation of forced evictions, and a halt to the intensification in the counter-insurgency war.

In September 2007, after 22 years, the United Nations General Assembly finally approved the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This gives indigenous people the right to autonomy, to maintain their culture and not to be displaced from their land. Simple, obvious basic rights? Not to the Mexican state.

The Zapatistas continue to endure, as they have endured for 515 years, a war lived day by day which permeates the entire life of their communities. And they continue to resist, as they have resisted for 515 years. Let us again support their call for democracy, liberty and justice.

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UK Oaxaca Demonstration – Tuesday 30th October 2007 (4.30pm)

There is a demonstration at the Mexican Embassy in London this Tuesday (30th October) 4:30pm-6:30pm to protest the violence in Oaxaca one year ago (and since) which resulted in at least 4 deaths – including an independent documentary film maker Brad Will from New York who was an activist for many years, squatting during the 1990s and subsequently doing work with Indymedia Centres in NYC, Brasil and Bolivia. He was shot with his camera in his hand, video rolling, and the footage is extremely harrowing. Many others were injured and/or arrested, with state snatch squads taking people away in ambulances and helicoptors, and over 10,000 police and military invading the town.

The state repression has continued over the past year and the murderers of 26+ activists walk free.

THE PROTEST STARTS AT 4:30 pm @ the Mexican Embassy:

16 St. George Street
Hanover Sq.
London
W1S 1LX

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