Zapatista Bases Fear a Violent Evacuation by Members of the UES and Police
It is Being Reported that People from the Town of Nuevo Gracias a Dios are Buying High-Powered Weapons; The Town of 24 de Diciembre is Surrounded by Police and Paramilitary Apprentices
By Hermann Bellinghausen
September 21, 2007
Autonomous Municipality of San Pedro de Michoacán, Chiapas. September 17, 2007: If what the Union of Forest Landownders (UES, in its Spanish initials) has been saying in their coming and going from Cruz del Rosario and Nuevo Momón to the settlement of Nuevo Gracias a Dios (recently built on lands that support bases of the EZLN from the town of 24 de Diciembre recently regained) is true, this coming October 8 they will start the evacuation of the Zapatista community, with support, they say, of the sector police, who has been camping on the opposite end of the Zapatista grounds.
The Good Government Council (Junta de Buen Gobierno, JBG) of Hacia La Esperanza has documented that this group of people is “buying high powered weapons.” In declarations made to La Jornada, the JBG said: “It looks like some have even sold lands to buy their weapons. And they pass them right in front of the soldiers there at the crossroads, to take the into their new town.”
It is worth mentioning that this town was founded with the protection of the Mexican Army, who has an operations base almost right next to the settlement. “We think there is complicity,” the JBG continues. “And we denounce that they are preparing violent actions aimed against our compañeros.”
As though it was under siege, 24 de Diciembre is surrounded by soldiers, state police and the paramilitary apprentices. This is why the Autonomous Municipalities hold permanent custody of the entrance to the community, with more than 100 EZLN support elements in periodical rotation.
The JBG has confirmed that even the families – living in Nuevo Momón – of the Nuevo Gracias a Dios promoters disagree: “The wives have revolted and don´t want to go live in the new town, or take their children there.”
The UES members, “through the church, seek the support of the other communities, but they aren´t agreeing either, even if they belong to the same organization. It looks like they recognize the right of 24 de Diciembre, because they know they are regained lands.”
The Cioac, a perredista organization that governs the official municipality of Las Margaritas and has followers in this same valley, publically announced that it would intervene. Nevertheless, one of its head leaders, Luis Hernández, frequently visits Nuevo Momón, and takes part in conferences with members of the UES. “We don´t know whether they come on their own account or on behalf of their organization. Neither do we know if they come to advise them to calm down, or to give them support,” says a JBG member this morning at his offices in La Realidad.
“Our concern is that there could be violent events against our compañeros, who are families, elderly people, children, and are unarmed defending their right. We make the federal and state government, and the police, responsible for what could happen to our compañeros.”
The community of 24de Diciembre is located at what used to be Rancho Momón, property of the General, ex-governor and land owner Absalón Catellanos Domínguez, and was recovered by the EZLN on 1994. There, the federal Army set up camps in 1995, and where they remain today.
Throughout 2007, the Zapatista community has been harassed, assaulted and threatened by a group of people belonging to the UES. Although the reports have been many, with testimonies and documental proof, the UES, an organization focusing on the commercialization of coffee, has not declared a position regarding the accusations in spite of the fact that criticism and boycotts have reached their coffee establishments, Café de la Selva.
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