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UK Joins Worldwide Echo In Support Of Zapatistas

Will Simpson | 14.10.2012 23:36 | Repression | Social Struggles | Zapatista

On Friday (the 12th) a letter was delivered to the Mexican Embassy in London signed by all the UK groups that stand in solidarity with the Zapatistas.

The letter contained a declaration that is also signed by 111 organisations and 163 individuals from 24 different countries, all of whom have been shocked by the acts of violence, abuse, intimidation and harassment currently being directed against the Zapatista support base communities in Chiapas, Mexico. These are in violation of their right to autonomy as indigenous peoples, as enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the Mexican government has signed.

The UK groups chose October 12th as the day to present the letter because it is the Day of Indigenous Resistance, which marks the 520th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas (and the start of the colonial endeavour to destroy the indigenous peoples of these lands). The date also marks the beginning of the second phase of the ‘Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas’ campaign.

The Zapatistas first came to international attention in January 1994 when they rose up against 500 years of oppression against indigenous peoples, as well against the NAFTA agreement that came into force that month. They later collectivised their land and became something of a cause celebre amongst the anti-globalisation movement.

But in recent years these communities in resistance have suffered an increasing number of attacks by government-backed paramilitary groups with a number of Zapatista members being imprisoned for crimes they have not committed.

In the short time since the international declaration was first drafted in July, 83 members of two villages have been displaced after being attacked by paramilitaries with firearms, openly supported by the local authorities and police force.

Will Simpson
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