DECEMBER 2011 ZAPATISTA NEWS SUMMARY
A Happy New Year
Happy 18th Anniversary of the Zapatista Uprising
1. Marcos Letter to Luis Villoro: A Death... Or A Life - The 4th letter from Sub-comandante Marcos to Luis Villoro was published on the Enlace Zapatista website December 7. In the letter, Marcos remembers the lives of Tomás Segovia and Comandante Moisés, both of whom died in recent months. Marcos quotes extensively from Segovia's writings regarding the left, Power and resistance, then recognizes that Comandante Moisés lived in resistance. Rumours had circulated for months of Comandante Moisés' death, with at least one electronic account confusing his background information with that of Lt Col Moisés. This letter confirms that it was the Comandante Moisés on the CCRI-CG, from Oventik, who was killed in an auto accident. He had participated in organizing for the EZLN since 1985 with Comandanta Ramona. Marcos ends with a P.S. attacking the political class, as the 2012 presidential campaign is poised to begin in Mexico. The entire letter can now be read in English on Enlace Zapatista.
2. Las Abejas Commemorate the 14th Anniversary of Acteal Massacre - The civil society organization Las Abejas began commemorating the 14th anniversary of the Acteal Massacre with a 2-day walk through the Tzotzil mountains of Chiapas, with fasting and prayer on December 20 and 21. 45 women, children and men were massacred by paramilitaries on December 22, 1997. On the 22, both Bishops Raul Vera and Felipe Arizmendi attended the mass and commemoration ceremony at Acteal. Las Abejas emphasized that the ceremonies were also an act of resistance.
3. Guatemala Opens Consulate in Chiapas - While he was in Mexico for the Tuxtla Summit, Guatemala's out-going president, Alvaro Colom, opened a new Guatemalan Consulate in Tuxtla Gutierrez, the capital of Chiapas. Besides the geographical and ethnic (Maya) closeness, Chiapas and Guatemala have many common issues of migration and trade. There are also new Guatemalan refugees in Mexico, displaced from the Peten by "conservation" measures.
4. Seminar in San Cristóbal - Between Dec 30 to Jan 2, Cideci-Unitierra, located on the outskirts of San Cristóbal de las Casas, is hosting an international seminar of reflection and analysis entitled Planet Earth Anti-Systemic Movements. The seminar coincides with the 18th anniversary of the Zapatista Uprising on January 1, 1994.
In Other Parts of Mexico
1. Trinidad de la Cruz, an Indigenous Leader from Xayakalan, Murdered - On December 6, Trinidad de la Cruz, 73, was kidnapped while he was traveling in a vehicle with other members of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD) from the county seat of Santa Maria Ostula to the autonomous Nahua community of Xayakalan. A group of MPJD members were on their way to Xayakalan to hold a community assembly. They had a Federal Police escort up to Ostula. Soon after the police escort left, a gang of criminals, referred to as "paramilitaries," held the vehicle's occupants captive, then separated "Trino," as he is known, from the rest of the group and proceeded to torture and kill him. His body was discovered the next day. Trinidad de la Cruz was the 28th person from Xayakalan murdered since the community's founding. De la Cruz was a member of the EZLN's Other Campaign and of the the MPJD and an important leader in the community. In spite of witnesses identifying the paramilitaries by name, none of them have been apprehended. After separating de la Cruz from the others, the rest of the MPJD's members were escorted by the armed group to a city several hundred miles away and then released. The autonomous community of Xayakalan was founded on land recuperated from the region's property owners in June 2009. 28 people from the small community have been murdered by criminal armed groups and four people are currently classified as disappeared. The community fears for the lives of the families that still live in Xayakalan and the MPJD suspended activities to review its security protocol.
2. Police Kill Two Students In Guerrero - On Monday, December 12, federal and state police killed two students from a teacher's college in Guerrero. They were part of a group of 500 students protesting against efforts by the federal government to close down teachers colleges throughout the country. Unarmed students blocked a major highway near Chilpancingo demanding a meeting with Governor Angel Aguirre and the re-opening of the Raul Isidro Burgo normal school in Ayotzinapa, a town about 90 miles from Chilpancingo. Protestors complained the governor had canceled four previously scheduled meetings. Blocking highways is a common protest tactic in Mexico. Federal, state and ministerial police working with army troops and armed paramilitaries used tear gas and live ammunition to clear the highway, killing Gabriel Echeverria and Jorge Herrera. Police fired live ammunition for at least 20 minutes, while students responded with stones and bottles. Some students were reported disappeared and at least two were seriously injured. More detailed information can be found in English at: http://mywordismyweapon.blogspot.com/
3. 13th Meeting of Tuxtla Summit - Countries participating in the Tuxtla Mechanism met in Merida, Yucatan, during the first week in December. A free trade agreement was signed by the presidents, thereby unifying previous free trade agreements between Mexico, Central America and Colombia. Mexico's Congress still must approve. Some of the countries in attenance also signed a letter to the United States demanding that it take drastic measures to reduce drug consumption and the flow of money and weapons.
4. Official Numbers on Death Toll in Drug War - Relying on a number of both government and journalistic sources, La Jornada published the total number of deaths from President Felipe Calderón's 5-year "war against organized crime" as 51, 918 as of December 30 2011, 11,890 in 2011. For those who have followed the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD), led by Javier Sicilia, these numbers may seem confusing. The MPJD started using the number of "more than 50,000 dead in March of this year, which would mean that there are now more than 60,000 dead by its count. The difference may be that the MPJD number includes 10 thousand disappeared (and presumed dead). The government does not include a person as dead until a body has been found; apparently, the MPJD does.