Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Zapatistas Update

There are good reasons why I think the "war on drugs" is about repressing dissidents and maintaining the power of corporate elites. The Zapatista autonomous communities are probably about as straight-edge as one could get, and yet they get hassled on the pretext of growing marijuana:
A group of 200 Mexican soldiers and federal and municipal police tried to enter a Zapatista community last Wednesday, June 4, under the pretext of searching for marijuana plants.

According to a recent communique from the Good Government Council, which you can find below, when the military convoy arrived the community told them to “Go back to where you came from, you aren’t needed here. We want freedom, justice, and democracy – not soldiers.”

The soldiers replied by accusing them of growing marijuana, saying “we’re going on ahead come hell or high water.” (It was a false accusation though, since all Zapatiata maintain a “dry law,” prohibiting drugs and alcohol within their territories.)

At that point, the Zapatista took hold of “machetes, shovels, rocks, slingshots, ropes and whatever else was at hand,” and successfully drove them back.

While they were leaving, the military convoy said, “Well, this time we’re not going any further, but we’ll be back in two weeks and we’re going in there come hell or high water.” Then they trampled the cornfield, the community’s only food source.

For over a year now the Mexican State has been running a desperate campaign against the Zapatista. Starting around the Intercontinental Encuentro, which took place in Yaqui territory last September, the campaign has been getting more and more intense.

Today the Zapatista are faced with almost daily aggressions, as John Gibler points out:

On May 19, federal agents and soldiers, arriving in helicopters and military convoy, entered the community of San Jerónimo Tuliljá, in the Caracol of La Garrucha, breaking into houses and pushing people around without explanation.

On May 22, a large group of armed men from the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) invaded the Zapatista Caracol of Morelia, cutting off the community’s electricity and attacking people in their homes throughout the night. The gunmen wounded over 20 Zapatistas, six of whom were taken to the hospital in serious condition.

But the aggressions are almost daily: kidnapping Zapatista supporters and taking them to local jails on invented charges, contaminating local wells, invading lands, cutting corn plants, leaving death threats for the community.

“It is as if we are seeing the preparations for what will be another Acteal,” said Subcomandante Marcos in a recent interview published in book form in Mexico, referring to the December 22, 1997 paramilitary massacre of 45 indigenous men, women, and children gathered in a church in the community of Acteal.

“But now they are not looking for a conflict between aggressors and defenseless people, but really a confrontation,” he said.

Zapatista autonomy is not only a threat to the perceived legitimacy of the state, but it is the structure of resistance that maintains and protects Zapatista territories, land recuperated through the 1994 uprising and cared for and cultivated since.
H/t Inteligentaindigena Indigenismo Novajoservo

No comments:

Post a Comment