Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group
The Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group is one of many groups across the world which support the Zapatistas in their struggleand is part of the 'UK Zapatista Network'. Our main purpose is to raise awareness of the Zapatista struggle and to give practical help wherever possible.
We do this by organising talks, film showings, benefit gigs, street stalls and direct actions as well as publishing articles. We import Zapatista produce such as coffee, clothing and jewellery for sale with the money going directly back to the communities.
In Spring 2004 the Edinburgh-Chiapas Solidarity Group twinned with the '16 de Febrero' Zapatista autonomous municipality. The municipality is in a poor, rural community which lacked access to basic medical care and education. We have raised funding that enabled the community to build a health clinic in their area and further help is now needed to purchase medical equipment and supplies.
We welcome new people getting involved in the group, for info on our upcoming organising meetings please email us at email@example.com.
Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group and KIPTIK proudly present The Zapatista Solidarity Calendar 2010.
With high quality images from our twinned autonomous municipality '16 de Febrero' and other Zapatista communities, the 2010 calendar is essential for activists and supporters alike. All funds raised from the sale of the calendar will be shared between KIPTIK, who support water, health, media and art projects in Zapatista communities, and Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group's support of autonomous health clinics in the Chiapas highlands region.
Any groups, collectives or shops that would like to distribute these calendars are welcome to contact us, and they are available for a mere £6 to individuals, or £7 to shops. Stocks are limited so get in there fast!
Ruben Valencia Nunez from Oaxaca, southern Mexico spoke in Glasgow and Edinburgh in late July as part of a European tour campaigning against the criminalisation of social movements in Mexico. He urged solidarity with the people of Oaxaca who are resisting many megaprojects such as mines and dams. Several projects are run by European companies, including by Scottish Power's owners, Spanish company Iberdrola.
Ruben is an organiser on the APPO (Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca) council, a founder of VOCAL (Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Liberty) and is active with the University of the Land, based on self-education, and the CASOTA (Oaxacan House of Solidarity and Self-Sustaining Work) social centre. He has protested against Dams, motorways and the other projects being imposed on the local people.
Ruben was the victim of an assassination attempt in January, in Oaxaca City. Five men in a car, who looked like plain clothes police officers, shouted insults about APPO. They followed Ruben to a cafe and attacked him with a knife on the head and neck. Ruben had to be rushed to hospital where he required many stitches, and only narrowly escaped death.
Ruben's talks – organised by Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group and the newly reformed Glasgow Chiapas Solidarity Group - described the recent history of heroic resistance and brutal repression in Oaxaca, stressing the struggle is alive today, and needs our solidarity:
REPRESSION AND RESISTANCE IN MEXICO
Public meetings in Glasgow and Edinburgh
Once again the indigenous peoples of Chiapas are cast in the rôle of defenders of the land, the environment, and natural resources against the predations of the neo-liberal system.
In the beautiful green valleys of the rivers Agua Azul, Bascán, Tulijá and Misol-há, conflicts and violence continue to erupt in response to proposed ‘eco-tourism’ developments, the income from tourism, and the planned new highway between San Cristóbal de Las Casas and Palenque.
A national and international call for action has gone out for people to take action in support of 7 political prisoners. These men are Other Campaign adherents from the community of San Sebastián Bachajón, which is situated near the waterfalls at Agua Azul, and have been imprisoned unjustly since 16th April.
STOP PRESS 12 July: We have just heard that five of the remaining seven prisoners have now been freed, "thanks to national and international solidarity". They had been falsely accused of highway robbery, despite these attacks continuing unabated while the accused were incarcerated. Campaigns continue for the release of the remaining two Tzeltal
- When they gave their statements they said they were tortured by plainclothes police
- They oppose neo-liberal projects that try to turn their lands into a new Cancun
by Hermann Bellinghausen, La Jornada
Translated by Kristin Bricker
El Amate, Chiapas. May 6 - "I have been detained because I belong to the Zapatista Army of National Liberation" (EZLN), Miguel Vazquez Moreno declared today when he gave his testimony in the second criminal court in the State Center for Social Rehabilitation of Convicts (CERSS in its Spanish initials) number 14, El Amate, where none of the officials and employees, of course, are wearing face masks. Nor do they seem aware that there is a national and state health emergency.
In contrast to his first "statement" given under coercion in pre-charge detention, Vazquez Moreno is assisted by an interpreter who speaks his language, or at least a variation of his dialect (the interpreter the authorities have provided is from Cancuc, while the eight detained men from San Sebastian Bachajon speak the tzeltal dialect of Chilon). But, at least they understand each other, and that is enough.
From behind the railing he declares himself innocent of the charges against him, and requests that he be freed for lack of evidence to proceed with a trial. And he introduces himself in this manner: "I am from the ejido San Sebastian Bachajon and I belong to the support bases of the EZLN, an organization that defends its right to exercise autonomy and self-determination as indigenous peoples, its right to territory and natural resources."
Twice within three days Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group took to the streets to demand freedom for the 12 political prisoners of Atenco, Mexico. The giant banner FREE THE ATENCO PRISONERS was carried in Edinburgh’s Mayday march on 2nd May, while on Monday 4th the banner plus an information stall were set up for three hours at the east end of Princes Street, the city’s main street.
Hundreds of leaflets were distributed on both occasions, and passers-by signed letters demanding the release of the Atenco prisoners, jailed for defending their community and land against the state. On the Monday the giant banner attached to the Duke of Wellington’s statue drew much notice! Information and letters were also distributed about the current torture and imprisonment of the Other Campaign supporters from Agua Azul, Chiapas.
MEXICO 11 men held without charge in a detention centre known as “Quinta Pitiquito”
Eleven men recently arrested in two separate police operations which took place in the towns of Tuxtla Gutiérrez
and Ocosingo, Chiapas state, are being held without charge in an informal detention facility. All men have
restricted access to legal counsel and their families. Relatives and local human rights organizations reported that
they have suffered torture and threats.
A call-out has been made for international action to demand freedom for the 13 political prisoners of Atenco, during the period 3-5th May. Discussions are underway about what we could do in Britain – if you are interested please contact us urgently at Edinchiapas@yahoo.co.uk
Following is a statement from the National and International Campaign for Liberty and Justice for Atenco:
We call for national and international civil society to participate in the days of action, three years on from the events in Atenco. We invite you to carry out actions of civil and peaceful protest in your localities, neighborhoods and communities, in your schools and workplaces. And to mobilize on May 3-5 to conduct demonstrations for the freedom of the 13 political prisoners from Atenco.