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Zapatista community of San Marcos Aviles faces eviction, aggression and threats

lusacrepa | 05.07.2011 06:05 | Zapatista

The Zapatista supporters in the community of San Marcos Aviles have had their land, crops and possessiona stolen from them and face daily aggressions and threats because they set up an autonomus school.

Good Government Junta Central Heart of the Zapatistas Before the World
July 1, 2011

To public opinion
To the national and international press
To national and international civil society
To Human Rights Organizations
To the alternative media
To adherents to the Other Campaign
To adherents to the Zezta International

Brothers and sisters,


We, the men and women of the Good Government Council (Junta) of the Highlands of Chiapas, denounce the events now occurring in this community. This is not the first time, for these problems have been happening since 2010. Our compañeros and compañeras, the Zapatista support bases of San Marcos Avilés, are living in a very difficult situation, in their own community, caused by people affiliated to different political parties and by the authorities of the same community. We will now tell of the events that have been occurring.

Since 2010, our compañeros and compañeras in the afore-mentioned community have been facing death threats, harassment, loss of their cultivated lands, and evictions from their own community, purely because they started to set up an autonomous education system for their people. In 2010, one of our compas was arrested and forced to sign a document agreeing to leave the organization. Our compa refused to sign it, despite great pressure to do so, and was finally released, though with a large number of threats and obscenities.
They [the aggressors] also said they were going to take away the community's land.

On 24 and August 25, 2010, authorities and persons affiliated to different political parties,
evicted our compañeros and compañeras, bases of support, from their lands, which they had purchased over 10 years ago: the total amount of land that the party supporters
took over amounted to 29¼ hectares, situated in different locations within the ejido,
where each family of compas had been working year after year. Within these areas were:
5,850 coffee trees, 10 hectares of cornfield with sowings of beans, 7 cattle, 6 horses, and 3 occupied houses, all of which belong to our support base compas.

On September 9, 2010 our compañeros and compañeras, Zapatista supporters, were displaced from their communities by the people from the different political parties. After 33 days of living as displaced refugees in the mountains, our compas returned to their communities on October 12. Although their homes and possessions had been ransacked and all their crops destroyed, our compas started all over again. The Human Rights Centre in San Cristobal de las Casas (Frayba) has full knowledge of all that took place during this year.

But the problem was not over. When our compañeros and compañeras returned to their communities, they continued to suffer the same threats and harassment from the people from the different political parties. We are going to recount the actions and violent provocations they are now enduring.

On 2nd January 2011, the official authorities of the San Marcos community held an assembly, where they discussed the imposition of a tax on electricity, and forcing our compañeros and compañeras, Zapatista supporters, to pay this tax on electricity. They threatened our compas, using obscene language, saying that if they did not pay, they would be displaced from their lands again.

On February 8, 2011, the authorities from the different parties in San Marcos community
began organising again to provoke our compas, Zapatista support bases from this community. They began to collect land tax of 20 pesos per hectare per year, but our compas did not agree.

On February 13, a former Chilón municipal police officer, named Ernesto Lopez Nunez,
said that the land that our compañeros and compañeras, support bases had purchased, now belonged to him and not to the Good Government Council (JBG) and that the Good Government Council was lying. From that date the people from other political parties began to rent out these fields, which had previously been bought by our compas, to people from other ejidos (Tzajala’ and Progreso) at 100 pesos per planting (tarea); the land that belongs by right to the ejido is 8 hectares.

On the 17th of February this year the official authorities of the ejido were to pay the land tax to the tax collectors for the state of Chilon. According to reports, the tax collectors
asked for a document signed by the the Zapatista support bases saying that they would not pay the tax; the official authorities did not provide this, but instead pooled their money to pay the tax so that it would appear that all the land belonging to our support bases actually belonged to them.

On February 25, 2011, our compas went to work in their coffee fields, a spy
from one of the political parties arrived there. On the same date, 30 of these people gathered in the afternoon to come to an agreement. The next day they came to work in the coffee fields belonging to our support base compas, all carrying loaded firearms, threatening and taunting the Good Government Junta and our compas. They also put the coffee fields up for sale, at a price of 14,000 pesos per hectare, in order to get money to buy more firearms.

On April 6, 2011 a civil peace camp was set up in the ejido of San Marcos, and the civilian
observers were threatened. During the end of March and early April the aggressors from
the different parties continued to work on the plots of our compañeros and compañeras, bases of support and carried out the following activities: they cut down corn, sugarcane,
trees, bananas, coffee, mountain pastures, in order to prepare the fields.

Also, as the Good Government Councils, we have received reports from the observers installed in the community, who have reported the presence of the federal preventive police in the community, the first time one van arrived, at other times two vans and at other times three vans, with the pretext of observing the two groups, the Zapatista support bases and the political party members.

The first group of observers also report that threats of death and eviction have been made against our Zapatista support bases.

On April 20, 2011, the observers reported that the threats and occupations of Zapatista lands continued, and that at nights they could hear shouts and gunfire. The 30 aggressors from the different political parties met in different homes where they planned that they would not take one step back in the face of the internationals, and that they were not afraid to do what was necessary to get rid of the observers. The [observers] also report that all the work that had been done by our Zapatista support bases has now been destroyed by the attackers.

On 24 April this year, seven of our bases of support were in search of firewood in the forest
when they came upon one of the aggressors, whose name is Abraham Kanté Lopez, a member of the PRI party. He said that if our compas and support bases collected firewood from his land he would kill them, and he threw a stone toward the head of one of our compas but did not hit him.

The same day a compañero, base of support, fetching cobs from his cornfield was threatened by the same aggressor who said that if he caught him again fetching cobs from his field that he would kill him.

On the 25th of April, 2011 the aggressor and PRI party member, Manuel Diaz Ruiz, occupied a cornfield of 5 tareas belonging to one of our support bases. We are also informed that the attackers have 25 or 30 weapons of different calibres.

The people who have guns are the following:

Lorenzo Ruiz Gómez has a 30-30 calibre firearm, plus a 38 calibre pistol.
Jose Cruz Hernandez has a 30-30 calibre firearm.
Manuel Ruiz Diaz has a 22 calibre firearm of 10 shots.
Santiago Diaz Cruz has a 12 calibre shotgun.
Sanchez Victor Diaz has a 22 calibre firearm of 16 shots.
Vicente Ruiz Lopez has a 22 calibre firearm of 16 shots.
Ernesto López Núñez has a 22 calibre firearm of 16 shots.
Victor Núñez Martinez has a 38 calibre army gun.
Tomas Aguilar Hernandez has a 22 calibre firearm of 16 shots.
Ernesto Méndez Gutiérrez has a 38 calibre army gun.
Rubén Martínez Vázquez has a 38 calibre army gun
Abraham Kante Lopez has a 22 calibre firearm of 2 shots.
Juan Perez Cruz has a 22 calibre firearm of 2 shots.
Vicente Mendez Ruiz has a 22 calibre firearm.
Rogelio Ruiz Gómez has a 22 calibre firearm of 16 shots.
Manuel Vazquez Gomez has a 22 calibre army gun.
Jose Cruz Diaz has a 22 calibre firearm of 2 shots.
Ezequiel Diaz Cruz has a 22 calibre firearm February of 2 shots.
Pedro Cruz Kante has a 22 calibre firearm of one shot.
Andres Cruz Nunez has a 38-calibre army gun.
Manuel Ruiz Gomez has a 22-calibre pistol.
Nicholas Kante Cruz has a 22 calibre firearm of 2 shots.

These are the aggressors who have firearms of different calibres, apart from those whose calibre of weapons are not known.

Another group of observers report that on May 21, 2011, some women from the political parties accused the observers of theft when some officials who arrived to distribute crumbs from the bad government at Yokjá were assaulted by a group of masked men, now the official authorities accuse the observers.

They also report that on May 22nd, the leaders of the aggressor group were Jose Cruz Hernandez, Ernesto Méndez Gutiérrez, José Guadalupe Kante Gómez , Domingo Ruiz Pérez, Alejandro Núñez Ruiz and Gomez Genaro Vazquez, who gathered at the edge of the road in a little shop, all equipped with firearms and one of them, a former police officer from the municipality of Chilon, Ernesto López Núñez, had brought weapons from Chilon.

On the 2nd of June this year, the support bases of San Marcos came to the Good Government Junta to report the following facts: on this date, the 2nd of June, three leaders of the political parties, Lorenzo Ruiz Gómez, Carlos Ruiz Gómez, and Ernesto López Núñez, arrived at the house of our compañero Lorenzo Mendoza Velasco, at around 8 o'clock at night. When the wife of Lorenzo realised, she shouted to her husband, at this moment the three assailants ran away, the objective of these offenders was to rape the compañera, and seize the observers.

On the 3rd of June, people from the different political parties came to burn the land belonging to support base compañero Sebastian Ruiz López, the plan of these aggressors was that the bases of support would put out the fire and then start a fight with the aggressors.

On the same day, June 3rd, a compa and base of support found 20 perpetrators,
led by Lorenzo Ruiz Gomez, in a stream. They were blocking the road and were armed
and our compañero had to turn back because he could not pass.

On 5th June, the leaders of the different political parties in the community of San Marcos called an assembly where they raised a deed of agreement directed at the military chief of Ocosingo, Fernando Martinez. This was to request federal troops to put an end to our compañero bases of support, because the leaders of the attackers said they had already done everything possible to destroy the Zapatista bases of support, but could not finish them off.

On the same day the leaders of the attackers arrived at Citalá municipality and at San Juaquin in the municipality of Citalá, to find some people who are murderers to kill our compañero bases of support.

On June 13, 2011, another peace camper reported that the situation in San Marcos was the same as in previous days, day by day there were threats and harassment. On this date a truckload of soldiers passed by the road to Tacuba. The soldiers were requested by the political party [members] to patrol three times a week.

On the 18th of June this year, seven of our compañero bases of support were on an errand, when they passed through Tacuba Nueva they saw two leaders of the attackers, Lorenzo Gómez Ruiz, a native of San Marcos community, and Vicente Ruiz Perez, from Tacuba Nueva community; our compañeros were chased for 700 metres by these aggressors.

On the 25th of June, five of the aggressors, Lorenzo Ruiz, Ernesto Gomez López Núñez and three others who were not known to us, came to spy close to the house of our compañero Juan Velasco Aguilar at one o'clock in the morning.

On 30 June this year a team of delegates from the state government arrived in San Marcos
Aviles, and spoke to the commissioner (comisariado) of the community, but so far it is not known what they discussed or what plans they made. As far as we know, they are to return to the community, arriving on Saturday July 2nd, but we do not know what their intentions are.

The amount of land our compañeros have now been deprived of is 31¼ hectares and 8500 coffee trees; all of this is now in the possession of the aggressors from the political parties. Also the aggressors are saying that the fields that our support base compas have cultivated will no longer be beneficial to them but to the aggressors and they are just waiting for harvest time.

In this situation of aggression, threats and theft of their land faced by our compas since they
settled back into their homes and into their community of San Marcos Avilés, they have endured many injustices made against them and have shown great patience in not responding with violence.

And neither have we, the Good Government Council of the Chiapas Highlands area, responded violently in word or deed to these attacks and threats, because the Zapatistas are people of reason and principles and we do not want to fight our own indigenous brothers and sisters. But the bad governors of our State and our country seek at all costs that among the indigenous we see our brothers and sisters as enemies and kill each other.

We, as the Good Government Council of the Chiapas Highlands area, have publicly denounced the provocations and attacks that our compañeros from the community of San Marcos Aviles have been suffering, and we have demanded that their rights are respected. But the bad government has done absolutely nothing to resolve and prevent the serious problems which could happen in this community; what the state and municipal governments have done is to support and back the attackers so they can continue provoking, threatening and stripping our Zapatista support bases of their belongings. There are no signs of this aggressive and arrogant attitude of the bad governors and their people coming to an end.

For us, as a Good Government Council, it is our duty and obligation to publicly denounce once again all the aggressions, persecutions and provocations committed by those people affiliated to the different political parties, and by the paramilitaries supported, advised and paid by the municipal, state and federal governments who are the masterminds of these human rights violations.

We want to make it clear to the officials of the 3 levels of government, and to the people they have controlled and manipulated, that our support base compas of the community of San Marcos Aviles are not going to leave, they are going to stay where they are and resist because they have the right be in their own community and to work the land which belongs to them, and sooner or later they will get back what belongs to them because it is rightfully theirs.

They should not think that they will stop the struggle of the Zapatistas for the construction of our autonomy and for national liberation with provocation, threats, assaults and persecution, because whatever the cost, and whatever happens, we will continue to go forward, as is our right.

We will not remain silent in the Face of any threat and aggression made against our compas, we will not allow the bad governments, by means of people affiliated to the different political parties, to carry on threatening us and subjecting us to their whims, we the Good Government Council will continue to denounce all the violent acts of provocation against our Zapatista support bases. And we demand that they be respected and that their stolen belongings be returned to them.

Although right now our compañeros and compañeras, support bases from the ejido of San Marcos Avilés, in the official municipality of Chilon, are living in a very tense situation, with fear of aggression and threats from the party members and the presence of police patrols.

We therefore say clearly that if anything were to happen to our compañeros and compañeras Zapatista support bases and to the international observers who have remained to witness what has happened, and what might happen, in San Marcos Aviles, it will be the three levels of the bad government who will be solely responsible and will have to answer for their shameful acts.

Finally we ask all adherents [to the Other Campaign and Zezta International] and members of national and international civil society to remain attentive to what might happen to our compañeros and compañeras from the ejido of San Marcos Avilés in the official municipality of Chilon, Chiapas.

At the moment this is all we have to say, and we will continue to denounce what is done to our support bases.


Samuel Velasco Sánchez
Montesino López Gómez
Lenin Mendez Velasco
Abraham Hernández Perez
Gabriela Hernández Diaz
Karina Pérez Hernández

San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico

June 27, 2011


Death threats, harrassment and risk of forced displacement in San Marcos Avilés

According to information documented by the Center for Human Rights (Frayba), in the ejido of San Marcos Aviles, Chilon municipality, there are death threats, harrassment, looting and the risk of forced displacement of support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (BAEZLN) at the hands of some residents of the same ejido, members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) and Green Party of Mexico (PVEM).

In response, Frayba is making known its concern at the imminent risk to life, personal integrity and security faced by BAEZLN, inhabitants of the ejido of San Marcos Avilés, as these death threats and harrassment have increased during recent days, further, the plundering of land is preventing work in the fields and the harvest of their crops, which results in those affected suffering from a lack of food, causing serious damage to the health of children, women, men, and the elderly.

Given these facts, BAEZLN families fear being displaced again, for which reason the Centre of Human Rights states:

The responsibility of the state by default, as to date government authorities have not acted to ensure the integrity and security of BAEZLN and access to land despite the many interventions submitted by the Center for Human Rights;

and demands:

* An end to death threats, harassment and theft against BAEZLN by members of political parties in the ejido San Marcos Avilés;

* To protect and safeguard the life, integrity and personal security of the members of BAEZLN, respecting their autonomy process that they have been building for years under the right to self-determination of peoples, established in the Convention (No. 169) concerning Indigenous and tribal people in independent countries, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


On September 9, 2010, the Center for Human Rights received a complaint from the Good Government Junta Central Heart of the Zapatistas before the World, of Caracol 2 Resistance and Rebellion 2 for Humanity community based in Oventic, San Andres Sakamch'en of Los Pobres, Chiapas, in relation to threats, harrassment and forced displacement that were suffered by 170 men, women and children of ejido San Marcos BAEZLN Township Chilón Avilés, Chiapas, following the construction in August 2010 of the first autonomous school in the ejido to begin the planned activities of the Zapatista Rebel Autonomous Education System.

That day, 30 people of the ejido San Marcos Avilés affiliated with the PRI, PRD and PVEM parties, led by Lorenzo Ruiz Gómez and Vicente Ruiz López, violently entered the homes of members BAEZLN armed with sticks, machetes and guns, and tried to rape two women, who managed to escape. In order not to respond to aggression, the people of BAEZLN left their homes and sought refuge in the bush. After 33 days of forced displacement without any food or protection, on October 12, 2010 27 families (50 women, 47 men and 77 children, in total 170 people) returned to their community.

As documented by the Center for Human Rights, they found that in the properties of the displaced: the houses had been looted of all their belongings, corn and beans, their coffee plantations and fruit trees had all been destroyed, as well as the animals each family had in their corral.

Since Frayba learned of the problem in the ejido San Marcos Aviles, they have on several occasions informed the government authorities of the situation, to request compliance with their obligation to ensure the integrity and personal security of the inhabitants and to seek a solution to the conflict. Despite this, there was no response.

However, even when the displaced returned to their home community, we received and documented persistent daily threats in the community, so there is a risk of forced displacement. On April 6, 2011, a Civil Camp for Peace was installed in the ejido, composed of civilian observers to deter any violent actions, however they are also being subjected to threats and harassment.


Send appeals to:
Lic. Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa
Presidente de la República
Residencia Oficial de los Pinos
Casa Miguel Alemán
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec,
C.P. 11850, México DF
Tel: (52.55) 2789.1100 Fax: (52.55) 5277.2376 Correo:
Lic. José Francisco Blake Mora
Secretario de Gobernación
Bucareli 99, 1er. Piso, Col. Juárez,
Del. Cuauhtémoc,
C.P. 06600 México D.F.
Fax: (52.55) 50933414; Correo:,
Lic. Juan José Sabines Guerrero
Gobernador Constitucional del Estado de Chiapas
Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas, 1er Piso
Av. Central y Primera Oriente, Colonia Centro, C.P. 29009
Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México
Fax: +52 961 61 88088 – + 52 961 6188056
Extensión 21120. 21122; Correo:
Dr. Noé Castañón León
Secretario General de Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas
Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas, 2do Piso
Av. Central y Primera Oriente, Colonia Centro, C.P. 29009
Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México
Conmutador: + 52 (961) 61 2-90-47 , 61 8-74-60
Extensión: 20003; Correo:
Lic. Raciel López Salazar
Procuraduría General de Justicia de Chiapas
Libramiento Norte Y Rosa Del Oriente, No. 2010, Col. El Bosque
C.P. 29049 Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas
Conmutador: 01 (961) 6-17-23-00 . Teléfono: + 52 (961) 61 6-53-74 , 61 6-53-76, 61 6-57-24,
61 6-34-50
Dr. Santiago Canton
Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos
1889 F Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20006
Fax 1-202-458-3992
Enviar copia a:
Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, A.C.
Calle Brasil 14, Barrio Méxicanos,
29240 San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México
Tel: 967 6787395 , 967 6787396 , Fax: 967 6783548