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Authorities reward those who leave the Zapatista resistance with social support

hermann | 11.04.2011 20:02 | Social Struggles | Zapatista

"Buying consciences", trying to bribe people out of the resistance

-The programs are also generous and immediate for former adherents to the Other Campaign

-As part of the counterinsurgency strategy it is stated that the rebels are supporting terrorists

Hermann Bellinghausen

La Jornada
Friday March 25, 2011

The counterinsurgency strategy in Chiapas, reported and documented extensively since its inception in 1995, has continued to grow, primarily in the economic and military spheres.
Although it is now less visible, active militarisation continues in the indigenous areas. Now economic strategies, mixed with institutional programmes with frequently changing names, along with the offer of various privileges and the handing over of money, all fulfil the same goals.

La Jornada recently documented that social programmes in communities in the different indigenous regions are more immediately available, and more generous, when they are directed at those who have defected from the Zapatista rebels, with a somewhat lower priority being given to former adherents to the Other Campaign. Indigenous PRI supporters, and other organizations affiliated with the government in the Highlands, for example, complain that "everything is reserved for those who used to be Zapatistas." This is happening at the same time as the governor is distributing praise and expressions of respect to the Good Government Juntas and the autonomous communities.

In this context, on Tuesday a court in Chiapas declared an indigenous man, Juan Pérez, innocent of involvement in the Acteal Massacre, after spending 13 years in prison. This decision was based on a ruling by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, which determined in 2009 that the Attorney General of the Republic "falsified evidence" to indict Perez. Of the more than 80 paramilitaries who were convicted to up to 35 years for their involvement in the massacre of 1997, only 23 remain in detention and these could be released soon.

At the same time, a document is circulating among journalists that leaves a lot to the imagination, starting with who its true author could be. Mysteriously signed by "members of social organizations in San Sebastián Bachajón, Mitzitón, Tila, Tumbalá, Sabanilla, Chilón, Tonalá, Mapastepec and Pijijiapan" (precisely the communities and areas which are in resistance to state power and its investment plans), it never specifies which organizations are concerned.

Reproduced in the local media and with wording related to the versions given by officials of the Government Secretary and the state police, the authors claim to have organized "since February" in what they call "the other of the civil other" (la otra de la otra civil), "in response to the media campaign of the Other Campaign of the EZLN (sic), who through their social networks try to discredit us and to use us as cannon fodder against the government and against the national and international community, in aid of their most dark and abject aims of terror and death".

Mentioned in the "statement", but evidently not consulted, the evangelicals from Mitzitón (confronted by ejidatarios from the Other Campaign as a result of the project to build a private highway through their land) immediately backed the text on their website 'The Voice of the Martyrs' (La Voz de los Mártires).

According to the letter, the adherents of the Other Campaign "are not from here, they come from other organizations, sponsored and supported logistically by rebel groups, many of foreign origin, whose aims are to create divisions among us in order to facilitate the progress of guerrillas and terrorists groups". And they warn that "any attack" by the other campaign over the Internet "will have a response".

Turning to the conflict about the access road to the waterfalls of Agua Azul (Tumbalá), which goes through the territory of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón (Chilon), they maintain that the claims that the "invaders" are trying to seize both the 'eco-tourism' area and the toll booth are unsubstantiated. It is worth mentioning here that the toll booth at San Sebastian was established by the ejidatarios themselves, they do not want to take it over, but to recover it.

The authors of the text imply falsely that they are the ones who have been attacked and that the toll booth belongs to the ejido Agua Azul. They also describe themselves as "ready to dialogue" with the government, and while not denying it, they respond to the accusation of being paramilitaries by arguing that "the Other Campaign and the EZLN are a military group, armed, violent, insurgent, terrorist and serving the interests of organized crime in the region". The authors claim to be official, then conclude: "we expect to hear, through this channel, of a meeting with the Secretary of the Interior, according to a response from the office of the Presidency of the Republic".