Gloria Muñoz Ramirez,
Los de Abajo
This week, Chiapas was, once again, the scene of violence against the indigenous and campesinos who defend their land and practice autonomy, facts which are blurred in the electronic media, so busy struggling to spread images of the “intolerable violence” - as they call it – of the teachers from Guerrero, who are protesting against the imposition of educational reform, and the students who have taken the rectory of the UNAM.
Both attacks were directly against Zapatistas and pro-Zapatistas. The former are EZLN support bases from the community of San Marcos Avilés, municipality of Chilón, belonging to the caracol of Oventik. The second exemplify the struggle for the defense of their land in San Sebastian Bachajón, home and birthplace of the leader of the adherents of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, Juan Vázquez Guzmán, assassinated by five bullets.
Active in the defense of his community since 2007, Juan Vázquez had denounced on 17 April, along with other ejidatarios adherent to the Zapatista initiative, new threats to their territory from a tourism project in the region.
The climate of violence in Chiapas, a state visited last week by the president Enrique Peña Nieto to kick-start his National Crusade against Hunger, is escalating with direct threats and harassment against those who defend their territory. The attacks have never gone away, it is true, but the violent events of this week are warnings that should not be overlooked, because a political assassination has not occurred in the state for a long time.
The attacks on San Marcos Avilés are not new either, but right now the hostilities are renewed against the families of this community, which, since August 2010 - when they established the autonomous school Emiliano Zapata - have been threatened by members of the group they call “party supporters”. The core of the conflict is the intention to displace them from their land.
In a recent communiqué, the Good Government Junta based in Oventik detailed the daily violations that they have suffered for the last three years, and commented that “the three levels of official government have done nothing to stop the acts of injustice and the violations of their human rights which are being committed against our support bases of the ejido San Marcos Avilés. The response has been one of swearing, ridicule and more threats to our compañeros.”
In Chiapas there is a latent threat of forced displacement against the Zapatistas, and a new political assassination.