Zapatistas block roads in Chiapas —and on US border

Zapatista Subcommander Marcos and supporters joined arms to block traffic at the Stanton-Lerdo International Bridge over the Rio Grande for an hour in protest of the repression in Oaxaca Nov. 1. More than 100 cars were halted by the blockade on the bridge linking Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, and El Paso, Texas. (Cronica de Hoy, Nov. 1)

Marcos held public meetings in Juarez the following day, calling North Americans “nuestra sangre” (our blood) and harshly criticizing President Bush, President Vicente Fox and the border fence bill. “We have seen that this wall that the government of Bush is building with the complicity of the Fox government is intended to kill our people,” he said. “There was the wall formed by the desert, the wall of the river and now this wall. Our comrades who go to work, not to do any harm, but who cross the border to work in the United States are being treated like terrorists.” Marcos met with activists from both the Juarez and El Paso side of the border. (El Paso Times, Nov. 2)

Authorities were not happy at the spectacle. Jorge Alvarez Compean, secretary of the conservative Juarez city government, called his high-profile visitor “comediante Marcos” (a pun conflating “commander” and “comedian”), and said he should be in prison. (El Mexicano, Juarez, Nov. 2)

Meanwhile at the other end of Mexico, in southern Chiapas state, thousands of indigenous Zapatista followers blocked 20 roads in protest of the Oaxaca repression Nov. 1. Caravans of hundreds of trucks issued from the Zapatista strongholds in the jungles and mountains of the impoverished, mostly rural state, halting to form human barricades at strategic highway intersections for up to 45 minutes at periodic intervals throughout the day. Detachments of federal and state police were sent to the blockades, but did not interfere. Among those blockaded was the road leading to the Rancho Nuevo military base off the main highway through the Highlands. Roads were also blocked at Comitan, Frontera Comalapa, Ocosingo and Altamirano.

Teachers from local Section 7 and followers of the worker and peasant branches of the Emiliano Zapata Organization (OPEZ and OCEZ) also blocked roads on the Pacific coast, including the international bridge linking Chiapas to Guatemala. (APRO, Nov. 1)

All sources archived at Chiapas95

See our last posts on Mexico and the Oaxaca crisis, the Zapatista response, and the struggle for the border.