“Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives!
The Bachajón struggle continues!”
From the UK: protest against the murder of Juan Vázquez Guzmán
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Representatives from groups from around the UK delivered a letter to the Mexican Embassy in London yesterday protesting against the assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and the continued harassment of indigenous peoples in San Sebastián Bachajón in Chiapas, South East Mexico.
This was part of the “Week of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, The Bachajón struggle continues!” in support of Bachajón that has seen protests in cities around the world.
An altar was constructed outside the embassy, music was played and the groups gave out information to passers-by about the Bachajón struggle. They also spoke to embassy staff who confirmed they would relate their feelings back to the Mexican government and to the relevant authorities in Chiapas.
The community of San Sebastián Bachajón has been in the forefront of the struggle for land in Chiapas during the last few years. There are plans to turn their village into a lucrative tourist destination for the nearby waterfalls at Agua Azul. As such the community has suffered years of violence, threats, abuse, arrests on false charges and invasion and occupation of the village by state forces. As a community leader Juan was an important figure in the village’s resistance and was, and indeed still is, an inspiration to the local people as they seek to defend their land and the rights of all indigenous peoples in Mexico and beyond.
Groups from the UK, Europe and beyond are calling for the return of common lands to the people of San Sebastián Bachajón and the respect for their rights as indigenous peoples. They are also calling for a full investigation into Juan’s murder and that those responsible for the killing be brought to justice.
For further information: http://vivabachajon.wordpress.com/en-ingles/
The letter delivered to the Mexican Embassy reads as follows:
Lic. Enrique Peña Nieto, Presidente de la República
Lic. Manuel Velasco Coello, Gobernador Constitucional del Estado de Chiapas
Lic. Leonardo Rafael Guirao Aguilar, Presidente Municipal de Chilón, Chiapas
Sr Alejandro Ives Estivill Castro
Mexican Ambassador to the UK
Embassy of Mexico
16 St George Street
Re: The repression of the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, the dispossession of their common lands, and the assassination of the community leader and human rights defender Juan Vázquez Guzmán.
The recent brutal assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, former Secretary General of the Adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas, has highlighted the repression being experienced by this community as a result of a violent campaign to displace them from their ancestral lands and territory in order to construct a luxury upmarket tourist development.
We wish to express our indignation and sadness about the murder, our alarm at the increase in violence towards those who seek to defend their rights, common lands, natural resources and our Mother Earth, and to call for justice and an end to the threats against the family of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón.
The community’s request for amparo (legal protection) against the arbitrary deprivation of their common lands, and for the protection of their territory and collective rights, has so far been treated with a disturbing lack of impartiality and independence, and has demonstrated a lack of respect for indigenous peoples, contrary to their rights established under ILO Convention 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, both of which have been signed by the Mexican government.
A full and fair investigation into the material and intellectual authors of the assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, and punishment of those responsible
Respect for the fundamental human rights of the indigenous Tseltal peoples of San Sebastián Bachajón, and guarantees for their security and integrity
Respect and guarantees for their right to the full use and enjoyment of their territory
Respect for their right to self-determination and the construction of their autonomy
An end to the plunder and dispossession, the theft of commons, the militarisation of the area, and to the threats and violence being experienced
Freedom for the prisoners of Bachajón
A fair, impartial and objective resolution of amparo 274/2011
We understand that the repression being experienced by the ejidatarios, adherents to the Sixth from San Sebastián Bachajón is rooted in the neoliberal political and economic interests of transnational corporations and the three levels of Mexican government. We will continue to monitor closely any developments in the area, and to offer the community and family of Juan Vázquez Guzmán our total support.
UK Zapatista Solidarity Network
Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group
Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group
London Mexico Solidarity Group
Manchester Zapatista Solidarity Group
West Yorkshire Zapatista Solidarity Group
Zapatista Solidarity Group – Essex 1st July, 2013