rdom on Tue, 14 Mar 2000 14:32:04 +0100 (CET)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

[Nettime-bold] [Fwd: En;IMC,Zapatista Women March & Take over Radio, Mar 11]

This message is forwarded to you by the editors of the Chiapas95
newslists.  To contact the editors write to: <chiapas@eco.utexas.edu>.
To submit material for posting send to: <chiapas-i@eco.utexas.edu>.

Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2000 23:51:54 -0800 (PST)
From: paz libertad <movimiento_2000@yahoo.com>
To: movimiento_2000@yahoo.com

Movement 2000, independent media collective, reports:

-military and paramilitary activity against indigenous
communities increases 

Despite intensified military mobilization and
hostility in recent weeks, thousands of Zapatista
women celebrated  International Women's Day by
marching into the city of San Cristo'bal de las Casas
and taking over a government radio station in order to
broadcast their call for an end to the militarization
of their communities. The women, who traveled from the
Lacandon Jungle, the highlands, the north of Chiapas
and the border with Guatemala, braved long journeys
through zones which are heavily patrolled by military
and paramilitary groups in order to participate in the
march. The women marched carrying their young
children, as well as banners of protest with drawings
of the military airplanes, tanks, and helicopters that
constantly harass their communities.

A group of 200 of the marchers peacefully occupied the
government radio station Radio Uno and broadcast for
one hour during the march. Maria Angelica, a tzeltal
woman from the Lacandon jungle explained to listeners
throughout the state, "Many of us do not know how to
read or write, and for this reason we come so you all
can listen to us. We want you all to know that we will
not get accustomed to the militarization." The
broadcast, conducted in both Spanish and indigenous
languages, denounced military and paramilitary
violence against indigenous communities and called for
respect for the rights of women and fulfillment of the
Accords of San Andre's. The Zapatista support bases
declared, "The militarization and paramilitarization
of our communities is now one of the principal causes
of the misery, poverty, sickness and the death of many
indigenous people. The military blockade, the daily
harassment, by land and by air, and the persecution of
us by the bad government, has been a grave obstacle
for the completion of our daily work, which is the
only way we indigenous people can survive."

In the last two weeks, as the women prepared to leave
their communities to march, military presence  in all
three regions of resistance, the jungle, the
highlands, and the north,  has increased drastically
in number and intensity. Community authorities have
declared extreme alert and have advised the population
to prepare for military attack.  The bold military
advance into the communities in resistance in all the
indigenous territory of the state is marked by an
increase in army patrols, checkpoints, troop
mobilization and the reinitiation of paramilitary
group activities. As the military occupies more and
more communal lands, they arrive with heavy machinery
to build highways and army bases, thus destroying
acres of forest and jungle and contaminating rivers
and lakes. 

A representative of the tzotzil highlands warns "the
situation is grave. When there is military movement
like there is now, it means that at any moment
something could happen." Airplanes and helicopters
have been flying over the communities so low that they
scrape the roofs of the houses. A teacher reports that
in La Realidad, a helicopter hovered so low that is
seemed like it were going to land in the patio of the
elementary school. From within  the helicopter, a
soldier videotaped inside the classroom. Similar
actions have occurred in other communities in recent
days.  In Oventic, soldiers shoot into the air in the
afternoon and the paramilitary groups surround the
communities in the night.  A community authority
explains, "This means that want to provoke us,
threaten us for wanting to struggle peacefully. What
the government wants is an armed confrontation. We
will make sure that there is no response to the
government provocation.  But  nor will we accept being
humiliated by them, because the cause of our struggle
is fair and true."

The marchers held a meeting in the public plaza of San
Cristo'bal de las Casas in which they declared, 
"We have not given up in our protest against the dirty
war of [President] Zedillo and [Governor] Albores. The
government continues to promote, protect and finance
paramilitary groups…with the clear objective of
dividing the communities, provoking confrontation,
persecuting Zapatista support bases and assassinating
the leaders of the people. The militarization and the
paramilitarization has promoted and increased the
violence, the division, the murder, prostitution, drug
addiction, and alcoholism. All this has gravely
damaged our towns and communities." 

The women also called for the liberation of the
political prisoners of the UNAM, echoing  the voices
of the jailed UNAM students who once marched the
streets of San Cristo'bal with the Zapatistas.
Meanwhile, in Mexico City, the women of the UNAM
declared that they could not celebrate Di'a de la Mujer
when 44 women students are incarcerated for the crime
of defending the university.  Parents of the 180
students still in jail continue to protest in front of
the Rector' s Office,  symbolically crucifying
themselves, sustaining a hunger strike and extracting
blood to paint the words "Freedom for Political
Prisoners," on the doors of the administration
building. The parents demand that the Rector withdraw
charges against the students, explaining "we are here,
peacefully protesting with the only weapons we have,
with all that we have left: our blood, our sacrifice
and our hunger." They are learning the lesson that the
Zapatista woman announced during the pirate broadcast:
"The more they persecute and jail us, the stronger we

There is a great need for videocameras, cameras, tape
recorders, and other equipment that can be used for
human rights documentation in indigenous communities
throughout Mexico. If you or someone you know would
like to donate equipment, please contact

Do You Yahoo!?
Talk to your friends online with Yahoo! Messenger.

To unsubscribe from this list send a message containing the words
unsubscribe chiapas95 (or chiapas95-lite, or chiapas95-english, or
chiapas95-espanol) to majordomo@eco.utexas.edu.  Previous messages
are available from http://www.eco.utexas.edu/faculty/Cleaver/chiapas95.html
or gopher to Texas, University of Texas at Austin, Department of
Economics, Mailing Lists.