12 February 2008

Zapatistas: The Drums of War Sound Louder

Peace With Democary, a Mexican group made up of Catholic Bishops, poets, intellectuals and human rights activists, have released a statement on the worsening situation in the Zapatista-controlled territories of Mexico.

“The drums of war against the Zapatista communities are being heard once more. Not that it is something that has stopped sounding since 1994, particularly from that Thursday, the 9th of February in 1995, which framed the military strategy and that today has expanded to other movements and regions. But in the last weeks is being heard much more strongly what was evident months before, showing the new feature of counter-insurgency in the Chiapas.

“The paramilitaries move with impunity, harassing the indigenous rebels. Agrarian ‘justice’ hands over to farmers’ groups land that is being occupied by the Zapatistas since 1994. The worst of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI, which ruled Mexico for 71 years) and locally powerful groups have regrouped under the cover of Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD, an offshoot of the PRI). The Mexican army is repositioned in rebel territory. New roads tighten even more the military encirclement against the disobedient indigenous people and their assemblies of good governance.

“In the… new geography of ignominy… the paramilitary aggression against the Zapatista support bases is systematic. Incidences of robbery, burning of homes, deaths, death threats, eviction happens one after another. Rebel communities are sought to be stripped of their land and territory. These are the lightnings that announce a new storm.

“Their (old paramilitary groups which have renamed themselves) members attack the Zapatistas from the roots, protected by the government. From time to time, the state administration puts on spectacles in which the former members of this paramilitary group hand over a fistful of their weapons to the authorities. It’s about manoeuvres to hide the support that they really offer to them.

“The PRD government of the Chiapas and its fraction in the State Congress are made up of some of the most rabid members of the local oligarchy. Racists and oppressors… enjoy great influence in the local administration. Far from being reduced, the presence of the Mexican army in the zones of Zapatista influence has been recalibrated and reinforced. New camps and regiments have tightened the siege, helped by new roads that, in place of promoting progress, have helped armoured cars and troops move about.

“The exemplary Zapatista autonomy is being challenged and with it the whole of the social movement and their alternatives. Today, once more, it is necessary that we mobilise in their support.”

Millions Marched in Mexico: Close to 12.5 million people participated in 2,932 social mobilisations in public space during 2007, according to a Mexican government report. The majority of the demands centred on agriculture, industrial relations, the electricity sector, education, transport and health. There were 466 blockades, 48 caravans, 1,156 gatherings, 3 hunger-strikes, 368 marches and 22 occupation of installations. Apparently exactly 11,316,724 people participated in other gatherings, such as sporting and religious events.

In 2008, there have been 91 gatherings, 18 marches, 5 meetings, 48 blockades of public roads, 10 blockades of access to installations and 12 caravans.
Sources: La Jornada Link:

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