Chiapas: Zapatistas protest renewed repression

The local Good Government Junta (JBG) of the Zapatista rebels at Morelia, in Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas, issued a statement April 23 charging that Gov. Juan Sabines Guerrero “is determined to be a humiliating repressor who does not respect human rights, following in the footsteps and example of past governors.” The statement came in response to the arrest of six members of the Zapatista base community of San José en Rebeldía, Autonomous Municipality Comandanta Ramona, near the Cascadas de Agua Azul ecological reserve, where they ran an auto transport service for tourists and local residents. One, Miguel Vázquez Moreno, was held incommunicado for 80 hours before state police announced he had been arrested as a narco-trafficker. The JBG said two members of the community remain “disappeared.”

The JBG statement denied that Vázquez Moreno has any link to narco-trafficking, asserting that “he is simply an indigenous peasant and transport worker, with a little store of very low capital.” The statement accused the state police of “robbing his merchandise” at the time of his arrest. (La Jornada, April 23 via Zapateando; JBG statements, April 21, 23 via Enlace Zapatista)

In other news of renewed repression in Chiapas, Amnesty International issued a statement April 23 expressing concern for a total of 11 men detained in two raids—in the rural town of Ocosingo, and state capital of Tuxtla Gutiérrez. In Ocosingo, six Zapatista base community members from the Tzeltal indigenous community of San Sebastián Bachajón, Chilón municipality, were apparently arrested while shopping in the town April 14, and taken to an “unofficial” detention center maintained by the state police in a vacant hotel at Quinta Pitiquito, Chiapa de Corzo municipality. Local human rights workers who visited them at Quinta Pitiquito reported that they had been tortured, and had visible signs of beatings. They were also apparently made to sign statements they did not understand, as their knowledge of Spanish is limited.

In Tuxtla, state police April 7 attacked a plantón (protest encampment) maintained by the Regional Independent Campesino Movement (MOCRI) outside El Amate prison, where several of their members were being held on what the group says are false charges. Police also raided MOCRI’s offices in Tuxtla, seizing computers, electronic and paper files, office equipment and money. Five MOCRI followers were arrested, and held incommunicado for two days at Quinta Pitiquito. Amnesty International says it is “calling on the authorities to charge the men with a recognizable offence or release them.”

On April 24, followers of the National “Plan de Ayala” Coordinator (CNPA), with which MOCRI is affiliated, blocked the Puebla-Mexico City highway for several hours to demand the release of their comrades in Chiapas. (La Jornada, April 24; La Jornada, April 23; Amnesty International, April 21; El Universal, April 7)

See our last post on Mexico, and Chiapas and the Zapatistas.

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