Zapatistas

Mexico: thousands march for release of Chiapas schoolteacher

Some 15,000 protesters marched in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, capital of the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, on April 19 to demand the release of Alberto Patishtán Gómez, an indigenous schoolteacher who has been serving a 60-year sentence since 2000 for his alleged involvement in the killing of seven police agents in El Bosque municipality in June of that year. Patishtán is a supporter of the rebel Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN). Actions demanding his release have taken place in at least 11 countries over the past year.

Mexico: EZLN supporter freed after year in jail

Francisco Sántiz López, a civilian supporter of Mexico's rebel Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), was released from prison in San Cristóbal de las Casas, in the highlands of the southeastern state of Chiapas, on Jan. 25, more than 13 months after his arrest. Over the past year a movement has formed in some 30 countries to demand the release of Sántiz López and another prisoner, the schoolteacher Alberto Patishtán Gómez, a supporter of the ELZN-initiated Other Campaign.

Hezbollah link to Zapatistas? Not!

Israeli news portal YNet on Dec. 29 ran an incredibly irresponsible story entitled "Hezbollah's cocaine Jihad," the introdek reading: "Faced with dwindling Iranian funding, Shiite terror group partners with Mexican drug cartels; uses millions of dollars in drug money to support weapon acquisition habit." Now, this is a quesitonable claim at best, but before the story even gets to the rather sketchy evidence for this assertion it spends a full six paragraphs talking about Chiapas and the Zapatista rebels—complete with a prominent photo of masked Zapatistas marching with their red-and-black flag! The message sent to the uninitiated is that the Zapatistas are mixed up with both drug cartels and Hezbollah. What is the basis for this Hez-bollocks? There is none. The article notes that an Islamic micro-sect called the Murabitun has been converting Indians in Chiapas in recent years, but aside from the fact that they are both in Chiapas, there is no link between the Murabitun and the Zapatistas, and no link between either and the drug cartels. Furthermore, the Murabitun are Sunni not Shi'ite, and based in Spain not Lebanon—so not even remotely linked to Hezbollah.

Chiapas: Abejas mark 1997 Acteal massacre

On Dec. 22, followers of the indigenous pacifist group Las Abejas (the Bees) held a ceremony at the hamlet of Acteal, in the highlands of Mexico's southern Chiapas state, to remember the massacre there in 1997, and demand justice in the case. The group accused then-president Ernesto Zedillo and his Government secretary Emilio Chuayffet—today Secretary of Education—of being responsible for the attack, in which 45 unarmed Abejas were killed by a paramilitary group. The Abejas gathered at the "Pillar of Infamy," a monument erected at the massacre site, joined by supporters and those displaced by the violence of the 1990s from throughout the Chiapas Highlands.

Chiapas: Zapatistas mark Maya calendar change

Thousands of Maya followers of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) marched, masked but unarmed, on the towns of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Ocosingo, Las Margaritas, Palenque and Altamirano, in Mexico's southern state of Chiapas, marking the turning of the Maya calendar Dec. 21. The largest march was in Ocosingo, on the edge of the Lacandon Selva, the rebels' jungle stronghold, with 6,000 arriving at dawn for a silent procession through the town's center. A mass silent vigil of thousands of Zapatistas in the town's central square continues at press time, despite unseasonable rain. There were no speakers, and no visible leaders present. The EZLN is expected to release a communique for the occasion. The group's last communique was in May 2011, proclaiming solidarity with the poet Javier Sicilia and his movement against Mexico's Drug War militarization. The EZLN's spokesman Subommander Marcos also issued a presonally signed statement on the then-upcoming Mexican elections later last year. (CNN Mexico, W Radio, APRO, Dec. 21)

Mexico ex-prez gets immunity in massacre suit

The US State Department issued a finding Sept. 7 that former Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo, now teaching at Yale University in Connecticut, should be immune from a civil lawsuit brought against him in the US in connection with the 1997 massacre at Acteal hamlet in Mexico's conflicted southern state of Chiapas. "The complaint is predicated on former President Zedillo's actions as president, not private conduct," said Harold Hongju Koh, a State Department legal adviser and a professor at Yale Law School, also citing the complaint's "generalized allegations." The US Justice Department submitted the letter to federal District Court in Hartford, where a judge is to make the final determination. "We are extremely disappointed by the decision of the Department of State to grant immunity to the ex-president, which will prevent us from proceeding with the case against him," attorneys Roger Kobert and Marc Plugiese of the firm Rafferty, Kobert, Tenneholtz & Hess told Notmex news agency.

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