Atenco in the Lacandon Jungle
Violence Threatenes Zapatistas in Tumbalá
By Gloria Muñoz Ramírez
October 17, 2006
An enormous banner expressing solidarity with the people of Atenco is hung in the main entrance of the Zapatista caracol, La Realidad. “This banner means that we, as indigenous people fighting for land, are the same as our comrades in Atenco who are fighting for the same. We know well the repression that these comrades suffer, and that is why we stand in solidarity with them”, says Sergio, of the Good Government Council
La Realidad, like many communities in this part of the Chiapanecan Jungle, and the rest of the Zapatista territories, re-opened its doors to the local, national and international community on October 1st, after 5 months under Red Alert. “We are already reorganizing the work within the caracol. Currently we are coordinating the work between ourselves, since this Council just began its term. But we are already seeing problems with the land and the continuation of all of the projects”, said Roel, president of the new autonomous administration.
The caracol, a center for political and cultural exchange with the Zapatistas, and the site of one of the five Good Government Councils in rebel territory, seems reborn. The grass was cut, the stores and buildings were cleaned, banners were hung in solidarity with Atenco, and a wall displaying newspaper articles was further extended on one of the principal walls of the autonomous government. Late last night, still working on the production of Ultimas Noticias, the alternative newspaper of the Good Government Council, were autonomous authorities Abel, Roel, Carina, Tania, Nocodemo, Sergio and Carmelino, were cutting out and posting news and articles about Atenco, Oaxaca and the Other Campaign.
“It’s all about talking to everyone who comes to the caracol – people from the community, other states, or from the world – what happened to our comrades in Atenco. As Zapatistas, we continue to demand freedom for all of those who are still in jail. We are part of the Other Campaign, and we follow its steps”, say Sergio, Raúl and Abel, almost simultaneously.
More than 50 indigenous Zapatistas from the community “Ch’oles de Tumbalá” were violently displaced from lands they recuperated seven years before. The displacement took place this past August, and left a number of people arbitrarily detained and three tortured, in addition to the damage and destruction of livestock, and the burning of houses, fruit trees and crops. On the first of October, more than 300 men, women and children from EZLN support bases again retook the more than 500 hectares. This is a struggle for land.
Since that moment, tension has been thick in this community in the “Autonomous Municipality of Labor,” part of the caracol Roberto Barrios, in the northern part of the region. Threats of another displacement are imminent, as is shown by police presence, helicopter fly-overs, and pressure from the local ranchers.
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