Nine Zapatista indigenous activists, adherents to the “Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle”, who had been servicing illegal sentences of 7-10 years for crimes they did not commit, were released today after a long national and international campaign claiming for their liberation. Seven of them where released because their sentences where definitely suspended, which proves how illegal they were in the first place, and 2 of them were released because their accusers withdrew their accusations.
All of their judicial processes were full of irregularities and all of them were tortured, like Pedro López Jiménez, for example, held hostage on May 10, 2007 in the city of San Cristobal. He was arrested by policemen who showed neither ID’s nor arrest warrants. Nor was he told the reason for his arrest. When arrested he was taken to an unfamiliar place, a house, not a jail. In this house he was tortured. He was repeatedly suffocated with a plastic bag. Then the police put his head in a bucket of water pretending to suffocate him, they blindfolded with a cloth with some substance, possibly chili because his eyes were burning, and he got electroshocks . He was beaten until he fell unconscious for an undetermined number of policemen. During his detention he was held incommunicado, denied access to a lawyer or family visits. Along with other Indian political prisoners, he formed in jail the organization “The Voice of the Amate”. He says that there are still 4 political prisoners to be released: ALBERTO PATISHTAN (see our Zapatista Newsletter attached) ALEJANDRO DIAZ SANTIZ, MIGUEL DEMESA JIMENEZ and ANTONIO ESTRADA ESTRADA from Bachajón .
To listen to their statements (in Spanish) after being released today: http://archive.org/details/SolidariosDeLaVozDelAmate4DeJulio2013_758
“Comrades, We will keep fighting. We will not disappoint you. Much less our comrade Alberto (Patishtán). Alberto is in there – where we were. But at any time he will be here with us. Patishtán will soon be with us.”
Also a few days ago, on June 27th, another Zapatista political prisoner was released, Miguel Vázquez Deara from the Zapatista Autonomous Community San Sebastián Bachajón. However, the assassination of their leader Juan Vázquez Guzmán from Bachajón, who was shot to death on April 24 in his house by unidentified armed individuals, remains unsolved, and two political prisoners, Miguel Demesa and Antonio Estrada are still in jail.
What is Bachajón? Bachajón is a Zapatista autonomous community located near the beautiful “Blue Water Falls” (Cascadas de Agua Azul) (see picture of the beautiful falls here).
What is the problem there? The government made a deal with some Hotel Corporations to build a resort around these beautiful lakes, but they have a “little problem”: there is a Zapatista community in the middle, the Bachajón Community. So what the government does is to attack them, put their leaders in jail, create paramilitary indigenous groups and plant them around as a “community” in disguise to harass them. Sometimes this group just shoots around at nights. Two years ago, after a provocation-incident, more than one-hundred Zapatista activists were put in jail for no other crime than being Indians defending their land. It is their land. They were born there. Besides, those lands are legally theirs as issued by government documents early last century ago. The form of property of those lands is named “ejido” which means coop system.
The only purpose of this arrests and murders is that the Zapatistas are displaced so that the hotel Corp. can build a resort that would surely be announced here in NYC just as the Cancun resorts are announced at bus stops, have you seen them?.
What does that have to do with Occupy Wall Street? It has a lot to do because we fight against greedy corporations that put profit over people and are displacing the people from their lands and housings all over the world. Besides we defend the preservation of ecosystems, which is exactly what Zapatista peasants do.
Want more information? Occupy Wall Street has been invited to the Zapatista Freedom School, to learn how these autonomous communities have resisted for 20 years. The Zapatista Freedom School starts in August in Chiapas, all the places are full now, but since we were invited, we will get the materials and DVDs to have our own meetings here in NYC. Like sub-commander Moises explains: “We wanted to let you know that all of the spaces for attending [the little school] in the communities in August are filled, all of the little classrooms are filled, and can’t hold any more people. There is no more space for students. Because we are not only going to receive them there, but we also need to make sure that they are well housed and fed, according, of course, to our humble means (…) But don’t be sad or discouraged, because we are weighing the options for another date, in another month, for those who cannot come to the little school in community this time. We’ll let you know the exact dates later. What is certain is that it will be sometime next December or January”.
In the meantime, we are going to have a screening of the movie “Heart of the Time” here in NY early August (place TBC) about the Zapatista communities. Would you come? We want you to attend, so instead of telling you to come whenever we want to, we will be conducting a poll about best dates, times and places more convenient for all of us.
Meanwhile, don’t forget that online solidarity works. You can send a twitter right now using this hashtag: #LibertadPatishtan asking in your own language freedom to Zapatista political prisoner Patishtán.
¡Zapata vive, la lucha sigue compañeras y compañeros!