Chiapas: more attacks threatened against Zapatista communities

The PRI-affiliated Organization for the Defense of Indigenous and Campesino Rights (OPDDIC), issued a letter demanding the EZLN dismantle its Good Government Juntas in the Lacandon Selva, with a barely-veiled threat of new confrontations if this fails to happen. In a letter addressed to Subcommander Marcos, President Vicente Fox and Gov. Pablo Salazar, the OPDDIC, founded by former PRI state deputy Pedro Chulin Jimenez, accused the Zapatista Juntas of provoking “grave social destabilization” in the municipalities of Altamirano, Ocosingo, Chilon, Sitala and Tumbala. These “offiical” municipalities overlap with the Zapatista “autonomous municipalities” overseen by the Good Government Juntas based in Morelia (Altamirano) and La Garrucha (Ocosingo). The letters accused the Juntas of “protecting delinquent groups.”

The letter denied that OPDICC is a paramilitary group, but stated: “We demand the immediate dis-occupation of the lands that have been occupied by the EZLN support bases, located in the municipalities of Altamirano, Ocosingo, Chilon, Tumbala and Sitala; if this is not done, the ejiditarios [collective farmers] will take the necessary measures to re-occupy their lands to which they have legal right.” (APRO, Nov. 21)

Following an agreement in 2005, the federal and state government committed to demarcate and legally recognize the land rights of 28 communities in the Selva, including Viejo Velasco Suarez. But this has not happened, and Chiapas human rights groups fear a covert strategy to evict pro-Zapatista communities like Viejo Velasco through unaccountable paramilitary action. (SIPAZ action alert, Nov. 22)

On Nov. 21, the Fray Bartoleme de Las Casas Human Rights Center issued an “urgent action” noting that four residents who “disappeared” from Viejo Velasco during the attack are still missing, possibly being held as hostages at Nuevo Palestina.

Sources archived at Chiapas95

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