Tabasco Maya community joins Zapatista movement

The Chontal Maya community of Villa Vicente Guerrero, in Centla municipality of Mexico’s oil-rich Gulf Coast state of Tabasco, has declared itself an “autonomous municipality” in a letter to the Sixth Commission, civil wing of the Zapatista rebel movement in neighboring Chiapas state to the south. The declaration said Vicente Guerrero, in remote swamplands of the Rio Grijalva delta, is withdrawing from all government institutions in response “abandonment” by the official authorities despite “the extraction of millions of barrels of petroleum and natural gas” on local lands. The community also cited human rights abuses, including the arrest of seven residents by federal police in connection with a supposed attempt to illegally detain government functionaries. The statement said the seven were “brutally tortured.” (La Jornada, March 3)

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