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Jul 22, 22

Families Face Violence and Displacement in Autonomous Zapatista Territory at the Hands of Paramilitaries

Paramilitary groups continue to attack autonomous communities in Zapatista controlled territories. Check out Abolition Media for updates and more reports.

The following two communiques were released by the ELZN in July:

We denounce the death threats and forced displacement against the community of Nuevo San Gregorio, autonomous municipality Lucio Cabanas, Zapatista support base (BAEZLN), made by those known as “the invaders” who come from groups in neighboring communities.

On June 19th, 2022, the invaders, in accordance with the Mexican state’s strategy of counter-insurgence (implemented in the 90’s with objective of eliminating Zapatista communities and their sympathizers), held two people hostage for seven hours upon their arrival into the community, looking for a confrontation. Intimidating them with death threats, the invaders extorted those kidnapped for their release. This event took place in accordance with the intensification of systemic violence against the BA EZLN families and the violation of their human rights (DDHH).

Since 2019, the invaders, mobilized by the neoliberal extractivism of the bad government, continue to seize the land that was liberated in 1994, stripping the community of more than 370 acres in their territory with the intent to force displacement, destroying their communal resources and threatening their communal way of life. These groups also threatened and held hostage the human rights observers (DDHH) in said municipality, impacting their work and causing the Center of Human Rights Fray Bartolomé de las Casas (Frayba), to cancel the observation program (Brico) after the incident of June 19th, 2022.

Without the presence of BriCO and with the indifference of the bad government, the community is vulnerable to escalation of violence, increasing the possibility of displacement and putting their lives at risk.

Due to the lack of action within the three levels of the Mexican government, we call upon solidarity groups and networks on the national and international level to spread information about what’s been taking place in Nuevo San Gregorio, keeping in mind they are one of many autonomous communities affected by the structural violence and normalized displacement in Mexico. We call upon the community to sign Frayba’s urgent petition: au06

Under the government of “leftist” Andrés Manuel López Obrador, paramilitary groups continue to attack Zapatista communities. On the 16th, the EZLN released the following statement:

Six families are displaced from the town of “El Esfuerzo,” Comandanta Ramona Autonomous Municipality. The Federal and State Governments of Chiapas are omissive in the face of ongoing violence and dispossession against autonomous territories.

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) has documented the risk to the life and personal integrity of six families of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (BAEZLN) who on July 14 of this year suffered forced displacement and the burning of houses and property in the community of “El Esfuerzo”, belonging to the Autonomous municipality of Comandanta Ramona. The omission and complicity of the Mexican State is evident in placing the life, security and personal integrity of the autonomous population at high risk, which constitutes serious human rights violations.

On Thursday, July 14, 2022, at approximately 8:00 a.m., ejidatarios [shareholders of communal land] from Muculum Bachajón, headed by the ejidal commissariat, together with municipal police and civil protection agents, arrived at the town of San José Tenojí, Chilón, where they held a meeting.

The six BAEZLN families left their usual place to save their lives and moved to the community of Xixintonil. The ejidatarios stood guard until Friday, July 15, and at night fired high caliber firearms. There is a risk of losing 20 hectares of corn and beans that have not yet been harvested. El Esfuerzo has 54 hectares of land recovered in 1994 by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN).

The facts put the Autonomy and self-determination of the Peoples at serious risk and denote a grave violation of the right to security, life and personal integrity of the Zapatista families. The Mexican State, according to articles 1 and 2 of the American Convention on Human Rights, has the obligation to respect the rights and liberties recognized in it and to guarantee their free and full exercise to the people, without any type of discrimination.

From Frayba, we demand that the rights of the autonomous territories be respected in the face of what today is a permanent and deepened impunity; we call on civil society, national and international, to speak out for the defense of the land and territory, for the security and personal integrity of the Zapatista peoples, now of the people of El Esfuerzo. We demand that the Mexican State immediately cease the aggressions against the Zapatista communities.”

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