[COMM-ORG] Zapatista community organizing signature collecting

Discussion list for COMM-ORG colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Thu Oct 13 11:37:25 CDT 2011

From: Movement for Justice in El Barrio
<movementforjusticeinelbarrio at yahoo.com>

Worldwide Declaration in Support of the Zapatista Support Bases of San
Marcos Avilés, Chiapas, Mexico.

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center and Movement for
Justice in El Barrio, The Other Campaign New York, have written the
following declaration with the goal of collecting signatures of support.

We ask that you please send us your signatures of support, including the
name of your organization or collective and country, no later than
Monday, October 17, 2011, to this address:
movimientoporjusticiadelbarrio at yahoo.com

After this date we will send out the declaration with all of the
signatures, so that we can disseminate them together and in doing so, we
will demand an end to the repression they are confronting.

Worldwide Declaration in Support of the Zapatista Support Bases of San
Marcos Avilés, Chiapas, Mexico.

It has been over ten years since the March of the Color of the Earth,
during which the Zapatistas gave the political class of Mexico one more
opportunity to advance in the historical debt of 500 years of oppression
against indigenous peoples throughout Mexico and the Americas. In spite
of this violent and enduring experience, the indigenous Zapatista
communities have kept alive a vibrant and profound history of resistance
and struggle for over 17 years with the public uprising of the EZLN.

Since this historic moment, which represented an important step forward
in their struggle for dignity and construction of autonomy, they have
continued to fight against the neoliberal capitalist system that seeks
to erase them.

Today, the Zapatista communities are a spirit of struggle, life, and
dignity in the necessary building of communal being and the exercise of

As a consequence of this, the Mexican State, by way of political actors
and pro-government organizations, has attempted to dismantle the process
of realizing the San Andrés Accords that is being carried out through
the daily practices of the community, including for instance their
projects of self-governance, justice, jobs, health, appropriate
technology, education, and others.

The advancement of the Zapatista Rebel Autonomous Education System has
served as a pretext to attack the Support Bases of the Zapatista
National Liberation Army, of the San Marcos Avilés ejido, in the Chilón
municipality of Chiapas, which have suffered various forms of
violence—such as death threats, harassment, dispossession, sexual
assault, forced displacement, amongst others—at the hands of members of
the PRI, PRD, and PVEM.

On September 9, 2010, after the construction of the first autonomous
school in said ejido, which forms part of the Zapatista Rebel Autonomous
Education System, over 170 people were violently displaced from their
homes by a paramilitary group, comprised of 30 individuals and headed by
Lorenzo Ruiz Gómez and Vicente Ruiz López—both affiliated to the PRI,
PRD, and PVEM. This group, which was armed with machetes and firearms,
violently broke into their homes and even attempted to rape two women of
the ejido.

According to testimony from inhabitants of the region, this attack was
deliberately orchestrated to undermine the autonomous education project.
Consequently, the Zapatista Support Bases were forced to flee their
homes and spent over 33 days in the wilderness, surviving off plants and
herbs. On October 12, 2010, upon returning to their community, and
accompanied by a solidarity caravan, the displaced found their homes and
belongings—including their animals, corn, and beans—ransacked. Their
central crops, such as coffee and fruit-bearing trees, were also
destroyed. At present, the aggressions, harassment, and threats persist.

The ongoing harassment and aggression have created the conditions of
possibility for further violence, impunity, and systematic human rights
abuses. They have, moreover, severely debilitated the daily life of
members of the Zapatista Support Bases of San Marcos Avilés by
preventing the harvest of their basic dietary foods, such as corn and beans.

Currently, with regards to the status of their health, we are aware of
several severe cases of malnourishment of the population, which acutely
impact women and children, and of the death of a young girl. In the San
Marcos Avilés community, like in nearby communities, a typhoid epidemic
runs rampant, and has claimed the life of at least one child.

It is clear that violence was utilized against the exercise of Zapatista
autonomy, as embodied in its educational system, in order to undermine
this historical process which the Zapatista Support Bases continue to
develop via this new institution of learning. As indigenous peoples,
they have an undeniable right to build their autonomy, defend their
ancestral lands, and create educational systems that support and reflect
the cultural and intellectual practices of their own community. This
right, furthermore, is endorsed by the San Andrés Accords, Convention
#169 of the International Labour Organization, and the United Nations
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In light of the ascending severity and frequency of these acts, we
demand the following:

1. An immediate and permant end to the harassment, death threats,
plundering, dispossession, sexual violence, and forced displacement
perpetrated against the Zapatista Support Bases of San Marcos Avilés.

2. Respect for the right to self-determination, particularly as
expressed in the construction of autonomous governance, justice, and
education of indigenous peoples.

3. That the right to adequate nutrition be guaranteed and upheld, as it
constitutes the foundation of the right of all human beings to enjoy the
highest level of mental and physical health.


For more information in Spanish, please see this Multimedia Denouncement
of San Marcos Avilés:


More information about the Colist mailing list