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.
For nearly 18 years now, the Zapatista communities in resistance have been enduring a counterinsurgency war designed to put an end to their movement. In recent years, acts of aggression, repression, intimidation, violence, theft, land eviction, and provocation have increased, and in 2011 their frequency and cruelty have markedly intensified. In August and September 2011, an Observation and Solidarity Brigade visited some of the communities to listen to the voices of those under attack, to document the repression, to witness continuing advances in autonomy, and to show solidarity with the men, women and children surviving this daily reality.
They found that many acts of aggression by Govenment backed paramilitiaries towards Zapatista communities, such as recent attacks in San Marcos Aviles, have been directly linked to the establishment of autonomous schools. In her article Jessica Davies looks at this worrying trend in the Chiapas Government's counter insurgency strategy and the brutal impact it has on the civilian support bases of the Zapatista movement.
To read the article click here.
After 39 days without food, 11 indigenous prisoners in Chiapas ended their hunger strike on November 6th, citing the deterioration of their health and the need to survive to continue their fight against repression. They had been protesting against the torture and human rights violations they have received at the hands of the Chiapas authorities and the harassment of their families.
Their family members and supporters have taken up the struggle by launching an ongoing protest vigil (plantón) outside the State Center of Social Reinsertion (CERSS), and blockading the San Cristóbal-Ocosingo highway that passes by the facility.
- NGOs (including EdinChiapas) and communities denounce counterinsurgency strategies in a letter to the President
- Human rights are only a publicity slogan of the official bad government discourse
By: Hermann Bellinghausen,
San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, November 5, 2011
Under a counterinsurgency strategy scenario, according to the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba), “the autonomous communities in resistance whose populations constitute civilian support bases of the Zapatista National Liberation Army, are within the focus of a possible confrontation and reactivation of hostilities like those that we guard in the collective memory of a wronged Mexico.”
This is said in a public letter to the president of the Republic, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, and to Governor Juan Sabines Guerrero, which has been subscribed to within a few days by more than 350 organizations, collectives, communities and peoples of Mexico and numerous countries, who “share that which signifies the deepening of the forgetfulness in which the official agenda has placed the demands and denunciations of hundreds of subjects and processes in Chiapas.”
URGENT ACTION NEEDED
A number of indigenous activists imprisoned in Chiapas went on hunger strike on the 29th September to protest against the human rights violations they face inside Chiapas prisons and the harassment of their families.
On the 20th October Alberto Patishtan, an experienced defender of prisoners' rights and considered one of the leaders of the hunger strike, was forcibly removed from the San Cristobal Prison in which he was incarcerated to a dentention centre in Sinaloa over 1000 miles away.
As their hunger strike enters its second month concerns are growing over the well being of the inmates as the authorities continue to ignore their demands.
SIPAZ have issued an urgent action appeal asking for people to contact the Mexican authorities in support of the hunger strikers.
Click on this link to view a sample letter and contact details of the relevant authorities.
Also click here to view and sign a collective letter in support of the hunger strikers.
“Where is the peace they say that they want so much? Is this peace, sending armed people to evict us from our lands? Is this the development that the United Nations offers?”
** This occurred on September 18th on 178 hectares of land in Nuevo Purísima village
** They maintain that money contributed by the UN via the UNDP is being used to arm paramilitaries
By: Hermann Bellinghausen,
San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, September 21, 2011
From the Zapatista Caracol “Resistance Towards A New Dawn”, in La Garrucha, the Good Government Junta “Path of the Future” accused the federal government, the Chiapas state government and the official municipalities (local government) of “organizing paramilitaries.” And it maintained: “It is clear that the money that the UN gives by way of the UNDP is for arming paramilitaries against our support bases and to destroy our autonomy.”
They denounced acts of provocation and the plunder of recuperated land from Nuevo Purísima village (Francisco Gómez autonomous municipality) by people coming from Puerto Arturo and San José las Flores neighborhoods in the city of Ocosingo, who say they do not belong to any organization, though they receive evident support from the PAN municipal council.
The Junta maintains that: “Felipe Calderón Hinojosa and Juan Sabines Guerrero are the principal directors of the paramilitaries.” And it questions: “Where is the peace they say that they want so much? Is this peace, sending armed people to evict us from our lands? Is this the development that the United Nations offers?”
September 20, 2011
Mourners in the aftermath of the 1997 Acteal massacre.
Family members and survivors of the 1997 attack in the Mexican state of Chiapas that killed 45 indigenous people sued former President Ernesto Zedillo for his alleged complicity in the massacre.
The 53-page lawsuit obtained by CNN states that the massacre in the village of Acteal was part of an alleged plan called Chiapas 94, which hoped to bring an end to the insurgency of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) in southern Mexico. The slaughter occurred on December 22, 1997 when a group of men entered the village and killed 45 people, including weapon and children.
“The mourners have been frustrated in their efforts to hold government accountable for the slaughter of Acteal,” said a document released the Miami law firm Rafferty Kobert Tenenholtz Bounds & Hess, who are representing the 10 relatives of the Acteal victims.
While Mexican officials claim that the attack was triggered over land disputes between residents of two Tzotzil ethnic communities, the survivors and relatives of those killed claim that the motive for the attack was political and that government officials provided both weapons and training to a conservative armed civilian force in an effort to wipe out the Zapatistas.
** Seven indigenous who have “accredited their innocence” complete 11 days on a hunger strike. The protestors started their indefinite protest on October 8 in the atrium of the Cathedral. Government agents have approached the prisoners to pressure them.
By: Hermann Bellinghausen, Envoy
San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, October 10, 2011
Upon completing 11 days of a hunger strike by seven prisoners in the San Cristóbal de las Casas prison, and six more fasting for 12 hours per day, their family members joined the struggle with an occupation in the atrium of the Cathedral and declared today in a press conference: “We will not take it down until our family members are free.” They are serving sentences of up to 45 and 60 years “in spite of the fact that they have demonstrated their innocence.”
Urgent action update. Assaults on and harassment of the EZLN support bases in the community of San Patricio are intensifying
EZLN support bases surrounded by armed group
Assaults on and harassment of the BAEZLN in the community of San Patricio are intensifying
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.
September 20, 2011
According to new information released by the Council of Good Government (JBG) "new seed that will produce", based in the community of Roberto Barrios, official municipality of Palenque, there has been an intensification of attacks, threats and harassment of the support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (BAEZLN), which could end with an imminent displacement of the autonomous community of San Patricio, in the Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipality of La Dignidad, official municipality of Sabanilla in the northern zone of Chiapas.
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.
September 14, 2011
Harassment and risk of forced displacement of autonomous community
According to information received by members of the Centre for Human Rights, through the Council of Good Government (JBG) "New seed that will produce" based in the community of Roberto Barrios, official municipality of Palenque, there is an imminent threat of various acts of harassment, threats and possible forced displacement of the inhabitants of the autonomous community of San Patricio, autonomous municipality La Dignidad, official municipality Sabanilla in the Northern Zone of Chiapas.
According to information received, on September 7, 2011, Mr. Ambrocio Díaz Gómez, Santiago Díaz Cruz, and Miguel Díaz Díaz presented at the home of one of the Zapatista autonomous authorities of San Patricio to threaten to invade and expel the members of the community under the pretext that they are not paying property taxes, adding that if they fail to pay for the reclaimed land they currently inhabit, they will "enter to massacre them all."
With Support from ORPHAN
Zapatista benefit gig
Thursday 22nd September 2011
£5 entry on door
19a West Register Street
The critically acclaimed Das Contras bring their unique combination of folk, jazz, reggae and soul from Fife in support of the indigenous Zapatista communities of Chiapas, Mexico. Funds raised go towards supporting the autonomous health clinics and schools in the Zapatista 'communities in resistance'.
"Blend folk, rock, latin, punk, reggae, shake them around a bit and take yourself off to a distant place and you've found their sound. And what a sound it is- they really are making some great music"
"Das Contras- one of the most talented bands in Scotland".