Thursday, August 18, 2011
To the national and international civil society
To the comrades in the national Other Campaign
To the comrades of the Zezta International
To human rights defenders
RE: Events of last Wednesday, August 17, 2011, in the community of the Patria Nueva Ejido, January 1 Region, Lucio Cabañas Autonomous Municipality in Rebellion, Chiapas, México.
At about 7:00 in the morning, there was a meeting of about 150 men of the Regional Coffee Growers of Ocosingo Organization, ORCAO, headed by the local neighborhood representatives Cristóbal Gómez López, alias El Saddam; Manuel Bautista Moshan, alias El Empresario, and others.
They were coordinated and directed by 0RCAO leaders Antonio Juárez Cruz, Alejandro Gómez Navarro and Carlos Ramírez Gómez and advised by Nicolás López Gómez, alias El Tzirin Juan Vázquez López; and José Pérez Gómez.
THE FACTS: They destroyed the Casa Digna built by comrades of the Zapatista Bases of Support from the Patria Nueva Ejido. This house had served as a kitchen for national and international observers so that they could prepare their meals as they observed the bad governments’ dirty tricks and plans of destruction.
At all three levels, the ire of the bad government has been aroused because its agents don’t want the word to get around about their dirty tricks. That’s why they organize ignorant people to inject their projects of death into our autonomous territories formed by our peoples where we’re governing ourselves in our own way according to the will of our people.
We’re not manipulated by any of the local or regional ORCAO representatives or by any of the so-called officials of the federal, state or local governments who pressure and threaten poor, ignorant people and require them to accept worthless projects and also oblige them to engage in provocations against us.
We are not like the ORCAO, which pressures and threatens people who don’t comply with their instructions to initiate provocations. They tell them that they will be kicked out of the places where they now live if they don’t obey. That’s why they provoke people in Zapatista territory. The leaders we mentioned feel like they are alone, without people to back them up. That’s why they carry out instructions from the government.
The house that was destroyed was a house of life, not death. It’s now been thrown on the trash heap by ORCAO people. They also tried to beak into a house that’s serving as an autonomous junior high school, but they couldn’t open the door, so they went in through the window and threatened to destroy everything.
We know that the people with an authoritarian attitude sent by ORCAO are only assistants, because the true masterminds are Felipe Calderón and Juan Sabines Guerrero. They’re the ones who are responsible for the projects of death and war financed by millions of pesos in our territories.
After destroying our modest little house, the contractor showed up with his bulldozer around 10 o’clock in the morning of the same day.
As the ORCAO militants shielded him and his machines, they kept on threatening to kill the Zapatistas with their machetes or by gunfire.
At 1 o’clock in the afternoon, they divided into seven groups and communicated with each other by cell phone. Thus, we saw that their provocative projects are well structured by the government.
This is not the only situation we are concerned about. Last Sunday, June 10, in Ocosingo, three of our comrades were robbed. They were cameramen who had been working on a project in Caracol IV in Altamirano that had begun on July 8.
When they finished their work and left the Caracol, one of them stayed in Altamirano and two left for Ocosingo at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, arriving at 5:20. They were hungry, which is often the case with us, so they went to eat in the Ocosingo market. When they finished eating, they left the market.
They were saying their goodbyes, still fairly close to the market and the bus station, when three men approached them. They asked them where they were from and what work they were doing, and immediately grabbed them and held them by their shirts.
Our comrades were forced to get into a small, white Tzuru with no license plates and were taken straight to the Sauzal neighborhood behind the Aurera store.
The cameramen were forced to enter a building materials store, where they were searched and their equipment was taken from them.
The kidnappers robbed them of the following equipment: A portable ACER AS5332-2448 computer with an Intel processor and Linux operative system with a 15.6 inch screen. Sales receipt number 89190, issued by Cervices Connection. Valued at $6,245.
A Sony digital video camera valued at $2,550, a Sony digital photographic camera valued at $ 2,116; a Canon Mini DV video camera valued at $ 3,500; a Pantech cell phone valued at $650; a 1 GB USB valued at $160; $ 600 in cash; and an equipment bag.
Our comrades were held in the room for four hours, and then two of the men left, leaving them in the custody of one guard.
They were able to overpower the guard and escape. They left the house with their faces bruised from the beating they had received and without their equipment.
The address of the house is: Barrio Sauzal, no house number. The name of one of the attackers is Juan Decelis from the town of Balaxte, municipality of Ocosingo.
This case also involved the use of spies, paramilitaries and other agents recruited and paid by the government.
One of the comrades who was detained and robbed had been invited to work as a spy by a person named José Guadalupe, who told him that he was involved in projects in indigenous communities in Ocosingo.
The price that our comrade paid for refusing to work as a spy was the loss of our valuable communications equipment.
The attack was undoubtedly instigated and supported by agents of the federal, state and local governments headed by Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, Juan Sabines Guerrero and Arturo Zúñiga Urbina.
We say that these government leaders are responsible because we know that they no longer use soldiers or police against us; instead they use indigenous people from small organizations to provoke confrontations between us and other indigenous groups.
For years these leaders have spent millions of pesos to destroy us and give our lands away to other people, thereby doing away with our customs and traditions and language. But we want the world to know that we, as Zapatistas, are still alive and that we will continue to resist no matter what the cost.
The purpose of the projects that they implement in our territory is to demoralize the Zapatistas, but they’re sadly mistaken. They may call us cowards when we don’t respond to their provocations, but we know that we’re constructing life, not death, the way the bad governments do.
We aren’t beggars like they are and there’s no government that we fear. Even with all the money they’ve spent, there’s not a single government, much less a little organization like ORCAO, that can eliminate us.
As Zapatistas, we are people who struggle from the heart with humility and honesty. We are the builders of a just peace, and we’re building a better way to live in our Mexican lands. Our own welfare is not our concern.
We are not provocateurs or aggressors or paramilitary forces or criminal bands. We’re working people ––people of peace.
For us as Zapatista Bases of Support, all the land recovered in 1994 is part of the organization. We don’t want anyone to interrupt our struggle because we’re organized as a people in keeping with our customs and traditions and in accord with the decision of our peoples.
Here, we know how to govern ourselves autonomously and we don’t depend on anyone else, and so we are willing to defend what is rightfully ours no matter what the cost.
The acting Council,
Catalina Ara Gómez
This post is also available in: Spanish