As we write indigenous peasants in Nuevo San Isidro and Nuevo San Rafael in Chiapas, Mexico are facing the threat of imminent violent eviction and possible massacre. On April 12th armed men accompanied by government officials entered the two communities. They threatened the inhabitants with guns and machetes, and vowed to return on 19th April to forcibly evict the villagers, who live deep in the resource-rich jungle area of Montes Azules, much coveted by transnational corporations.
In Nuevo San Isidro the paramilitary-style invaders stated they would kill the villagers if they did not leave their land. International observers in Chiapas fear another massacre like that of Acteal in 1997 [pics | videos]. The Chiapas-based Network of Community Defenders has issued an urgent international appeal: "It is vital to send letters, emails and faxes to Mexican government authorities and embassies, publicise the critical situation and undertake all possible solidarity activity". In London a Zapatista solidarity action took place at the Mexican embassy on May 1st.
In the Zapatista village of Nuevo San Rafael, Marisela explained how the women responded to the incursion and the threats. She stated: "All of the women armed themselves with machetes and sticks. If they come in here, we have to rise up. We are going to live here. This is where we are going to be and no one is going to force us out of here. So, if they want to kick us out of here they'll have to kill us!"