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Growing alarm over attacks on Zapatista communities

la jornada | 15.09.2012 20:18 | Oaxaca Uprising | Repression | Social Struggles | Zapatista | Cambridge | World

** International NGOs call on authorities to stop the violence

** It is a war that escalates every day, says Gustavo Esteva

Growing alarm over attacks on Zapatista communities

** International NGOs call on authorities to stop the violence

** It is a war that escalates every day, says Gustavo Esteva

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

Faced with the open paramilitary aggression that is developing against communities in La Dignidad autonomous municipality in the Northern Zone of Chiapas, concern is growing among groups in solidarity with the Zapatista movement, and collectives of the Other Campaign in Mexico and the world, at the alarming degree to which the escalation in counterinsurgency is increasing.

Expressions of support are arriving from different countries, demanding the intervention of federal and state authorities to stop the violence and harassment against the communities Comandante Abel, San Marcos Avilés and others, mainly in the official municipalities of Sabanilla, Tila, Ocosingo, Las Margaritas and Chilón.

For the writer Gustavo Esteva, it is “the time for resistance and solidarity.” In reference to Francisco Sántiz López, EZLN support base in Teopisca, currently imprisoned for no other reason than political persecution, and the besieged community of San Marcos Avilés, he says: “They are frontlines in this great war that escalates daily in the Zapatista communities because their resistance is walking onwards, because every day they affirm themselves in their autonomy, consolidate their achievements and take them even further. The bad government watches how the Zapatista resistance is enriched, how they extend their own ways of learning and justice and health and all their modes of living and how, despite everything that is done against them, the new social reality, which is the foundation for a different mode of existence, spreads and is strengthened.

“The attacks are not directed against weakness, or against something sad or dead. They attack all that flourishes, all that is robust, and all that serves as an example and is a source of inspiration….The demons are on the loose. The war is everywhere. But so too is solidarity—that decision to be together in this common struggle that no longer respects territories”.

Collectives from the Spanish State, France, Italy and the United Kingdom jointly showed their outrage at “the repression that Comandante Abel is facing” and noted that in recent weeks “we have been witnesses to the multiple offences and trampling that the compañeros of the San Carlos ejido have received, in the autonomous municipality San Pedro de Michoacán, located in the Caracol of La Realidad, and in the Moisés Gandhi ejido, Che Guevara region, Lucio Cabañas autonomous municipality, in the Caracol of Morelia.”

The Norway Committee in Solidarity with Latin America points out that Comandante Abel is “a community of dignified and brave compañeros and compañeras harassed, attacked, hunted and murdered since the 1990s by paramilitaries from Paz y Justicia and subsequently by members of the PRI and UCIAF.”

A year after the last invasion of their lands, in September 2011, “the paramilitaries returned with excessive violence, shooting at the men, women and children who peacefully and without weapons resist under the trees and vines to defend the land and their lives.”

In Germany the foundation was announced of the Berlin Committee in Support of the Zapatistas in San Marcos Avilés, who were expelled from the community in 2010 by a group “loyal to the government”. “Their milpas (cornfields) were occupied or burned, their houses and belongings devastated and destroyed. After an odyssey of a month, the inhabitants returned, having suffered severe hunger during the displacement. Although there is now an international civil peace camp in the community, the Zapatistas regularly face threats, theft, destruction of their crops or physical attacks.”

Statements have also been issued in Uruguay, the United States and Argentina. The Network against Repression and for Solidarity of the Other Campaign today in San Cristóbal de las Casas called for the creation of a network to collect food supplies for Comandante Abel that will operate until next January, as well as for the organization of observation brigades.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Saturday, September 15, 2012
En español:

English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the:
International Zapatista Translation Service, a collaboration of the:
Chiapas Support Committee, California
Wellington Zapatista Support Group
UK Zapatista Solidarity Network

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