To all National and International Organizations
To all of National and International Civil Society
To the Other Campaign
To the Zezta Internazional
Last March 25, the Compañeras and Compañeros of the EZLN’s Sixth Commission announced the formal start of the second phase of their visits to all of Mexico, fulfilling their commitments acquired within the Other Campaign. Within the framework of their departure for the Second Phase of the Other Campaign, and facing a new offensive against the Zapatista Base Communities, by paramilitary groups, by agrarian institutions, by the Mexican army and by public security institutions, the Sixth Commission, through its Comandanta Kelly, called on all of us to join and to begin the Global Campaign for the Defense of Autonomous Indigenous and Peasant Lands and Territories, in Chiapas, Mexico and the World. (The communiqué read by Comandanta Kelly is appended at the end of this message).
In the framework of the Global Campaign for the Defense of Autonomous Indigenous and Peasant Lands and Territories, in Chiapas, Mexico and the World. and facing the threat of eviction of Zapatista communities from their land and territories, several member organizations of the Other Campaign — as first action within this Global Campaign —, are inviting all willing organizations and peoples of this planet, members or not of the Other Campaign, to sign with us a document which will be submitted to the agrarian institutions in Mexico. This month of April the Mexican agrarian authorities will dictate a sentence in the land trials against Zapatista Base Communities; we feel that it is critical and urgent that you join efforts with us in this initiative.
At the end of this paragraph we append an English translation of the letter in Spanish to be submitted to the agrarian institutions and invite you to sign it by directly visiting the web site of Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center:
http://www.frayba.org.mx or by sending your adherence by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
OrIginal in Spanish, with supporting documents, at: http://www.frayba.org.mx (WE INVITE YOU TO SIGN ON AT THE ABOVE WEB PAGE OR EMAIL ADDRESS)
To the Unified Agrarian Tribunal no. 03, based in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico
To the Secretariat of Agrarian Reform. Mexico
To the Attorney General for Agrarian Issue’s Office. Mexico
In recent years, have seen a gradual increase in agrarian judgments against indigenous communities publicly identified as Zapatista Base Communities.
One of the main plaintiff’s of agrarian judgments for the eviction of Zapatista Base Communities is the Organizacion para la Defensa de los Derechos Indigenas y Campesinos A.C. (OPDDIC). It is well known, and it has been denounced several times by the local and national media, that many of their members, including its leaders, are linked to organized criminal groups and have clear paramilitary characteristics: a public anti-Zapatista political position, its leaders act with the tacit support of the Mexican Army, they form an integral part of a strategy of counterinsurgency and they are armed. In addition, the organization is affiliated to the PRI political party, and has presence in the Chiapas municipalities of Ocosingo, Altamirano, Margaritas, Chilon, Tila, Tumbala, Palenque, Catazaja and Benemerito de las Americas.
In the last months, the OPDDIC has intensified actions against these communities, including threats, harassment, forced evictions and illegal detentions, and the juridical suits filed by the OPDDIC have become in additional weapons that threaten to deprive the Zapatista communities of their lands and to evict them using public security forces.
These improper actions, and the decisions taken by the different agrarian and legal institutions, have led to serious confrontations, with unpredictable and sometimes violent outcomes, in a number of indigenous communities and territories in the state of Chiapas.
In addition, based on the monitoring of publicly available information, a series of illicit activities have been repeated in alarming manner, occurring almost every day in the municipalities mentioned above, including threats, injuries and damage to property of others, which in most of the cases are accompanied by lawsuits and agrarian judgments with grave legal irregularities and inconsistencies, in procedures, testimonies, alterations or omissions in documentation, trafficking of influence, etc.
Two flagrant irregularities in the agrarian processes are the agrarian lawsuits promoted by the OPDDIC about the Ejido MUKULUM BACHAJON, in the Chilon municipality; and RANCHERIA EL NANTZE, in Altamirano municipality, that are about to be decided the Unified Agrarian Tribunal number 3 in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas.
In the Agrarian judgment number 319/2004 about la RANCHERIA EL NANTZE — where the OPDDIC intends to get evictions from 2,228-77-53 hectares —, those who were accused were never legally notified. Furthermore, on several occasions higher legal authorities ordered the Unified Tribunal no. 3 to find and speak to the "Corazon del Arcoiris de la Esperanza", Zapatista Good Government Council (Junta de Buen Gobierno), which they claimed they could not find, despite the fact it’s location is no secret. It is located in the indigenous community of Morelia, Altamirano municipality, in the State of Chiapas, in Mexico, Planet Earth, about 16.72489 degrees latitude north, 91.96192 latitude West, and 1252 meters above the sea level.
After a detailed revision of documents from the 68 cases in the agrarian judgment of EL EJIDO MUKULUM BACHAJON, Chilon municipality; and from Agrarian judgment number 319/2004 of la RANCHERIA EL NATZE, Altamirano municipality, the attached analysis, arguments and legal documents show: 1) the illegality of the Agrarian Judgment of la RANCHERIA EL NANTZE. 2) The illegality of the 68 Agrarian Judgment, the illegal eviction of 296 families and the illegality of the constitution of EJIDO MUKULUM BACHAJON as an Ejido.
Faced with these serious events and risks of escalating violence, we the undersigned have joined the Global Campaign for the Defense of Autonomous Indigenous and Peasant Lands and Territories, in Chiapas, Mexico and the World, called for by the EZLN. Our concern about the cases mentioned above is the beginning of a detailed and permanent national and international monitoring of the actions of the authorities involved in these and similar agrarian and judicial cases, infringing on the rights to territory and free determination of indigenous peoples, contravening, among others, Convention 169 of the ILO about indigenous people, and who are acting in consort with a strategy of counter-insurgency focused on dismantling apart the autonomous governments in indigenous territories.
The undersigned of this document, will publicize those responsible. The actions, omissions and decisions of the Agrarian authorities, as part of a counter-insurgency strategy, are having serious social consequences in a major escalation of State-sponsored violence toward the civilian population, particularly indigenous peoples, of Chiapas.
SIGN ON AT: http://www.frayba.org.mx or by sending your adherence by email to email@example.com.
AND/OR SEND YOUR COMMENTS STARING MONDAY 10 APRIL DIRECTLY TO:
Tribunal Unitario Agrario. Distrito 03.
Magistrado: Lic. Rafael Garcia Simerman
Dirección: 8ª Poniente Norte No. 164, Col. Centro,C.P. 29000,
Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chipas. México
Teléfono: +52-961-611-3952 / (961)611-39 46
Fax: +52-967-611-39 60