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 edinchiapas@yahoo.co.uk.

THE CURRENT SITUATION IN CHIAPAS - A CALL FOR ACTION

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
prisoners.

Indigenous Chiapans Insist They Are in Prison For Belonging to the EZLN

  • 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."
 

Free the Atenco prisoners!

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. 

Urgent appeal from Amnesty International - 11 men held without charge and tortured in 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.

Zapatista News April 2009

A summary of Zapatista related news - April 09.

Campaign for Liberty and Justice in Atenco

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:

 On the 3rd and 4th of May of 2006, the government of Mexico savagely attacked the population of San Salvador Atenco in the state of Mexico. During this military and police attack, two youths were killed, 30 women were raped, and more than 200 people were detained.
 
The police began the attack when the people organized to stop the violent expulsion of flower vendors from a central square. There are still 13 political prisoners in jail with sentences of up to 112 years.
 
The community of Atenco has a great history of struggle for a just and dignified life. In 2002, they organized and put a halt to the government’s project to take away their land in order to build an airport.

 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.

 

Zapatistas' International Women’s Day Celebration

 

scene from international womens day at oventic

More photos here and here

 

The Zapatista centre of Oventic was the site of a two-day international women’s day celebration on March 7th and 8th featuring sporting events, music and speeches from Zapatista women. At least 3,000 people, including indigenous women, urban activists and international guests, participated in the celebration in the "Caracol" for the Highlands of Chiapas, one of the five Zapatista "Caracoles" which act as cultural/ resource/ political centres.

Zapatistas Eradicate Alcoholism and Drug Addiction

Autonomous municipality Lucio Cabanas, Chiapas 6th March 2009

An indisputable achievement of the Zapatista communities in the field of health is the eradication of alcoholism over the last 20 years, which is to say very quickly. The differences this has made to everyday family and community life are profound and result in less violence, which is in itself an indicator of better health, even more so in indigenous communities knowing the destruction alcohol causes in these communities, always bad for their health.

Indigenous Woman Falsely Accused of Kidnapping Gets 21-year Sentence

Mrs. Jacinta Francisco Marcial, an Otomí indigenous woman, was unjustly sentenced to 21 years of prison in Querétaro state penitentiary on December 19th, 2008. Together with Alberta Alcántara and Teresa Gonzalez, she is falsely accused of having kidnapped six agents of the Federal Investigation Agency (AFI for its initials in Spanish) on March 26, 2006 in the community of Santiago Mexquititlán, an indigenous community in the municipality of Amealco, Querétaro. The evidence presented does not support any finding of her involvement in such a crime; rather, her innocence is fully proven and should be recognized on appeal.

 

Upcoming Zapatista Fundraising Gig 12th March


 
 
Rage (Against the Machine Tribute)
with support from Certain Death and Tickle
8pm Thursday 12th March 2009
Bannerman's (212 Cowgate, Edinburgh)
Entry £4
Playing in support of autonomous Zapatista health clinics and schools in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico, including those in our twinned municipality '16 de Febrero'. Funds raised will also go to support the Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh.
 
Rage feature four members of popular local ska band Bombskare

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Get Involved

We invite you to join our email list (sign up here) and to attend our regular organising meetings.

Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group,
c/o 17 West Montgomery Place
Edinburgh
EH7 5HA
Scotland

Email: edinchiapas@yahoo.co.uk

Or click here for our Facebook page


The EdinChiapas group is part of the 'UK Zapatista Network': ukzapatistas.wordpress.com