Mexico: "Other Campaign" Organizer Imprisoned
Repression in Mexico: "Other Campaign" Organizer Imprisoned
February 25, 2006
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A campaign of repression against the Zapatistas' Other Campaign in Mexico is now underway. Less than 24 hours ago, well-known San Cristóbal, Chiapas organizer Dámasco Villanueva was arrested as he set up the Zapatista Information Booth in the city's main square. His current whereabouts are unknown. Al Giordano reports from San Cristóbal:
"Twelve hours after his arrest, authorities have refused to explain why he was arrested, except that it has to do with a two-year-old complaint filed by the Pegaso company and its Movistar cell phone network, one of the largest in Mexico. Pegaso-Movistar seems to blame Dámaso - also a social fighter in his neighborhood in the southern barrios of this city - for $2,300,000 pesos (about $220,000 dollars) of damage to a cell phone tower in that neighborhood. (In many cases throughout the country, residents of neighborhoods have opposed these microwave towers, concerned about their potential health effects.)
"Yet the timing of the arrest - as the Zapatista Other Campaign gains traction and has begun to rattle the windows of the country's corrupt mercantile and political classes; as Marcos, on the stump, increasingly calls for imprisoning leading business magnates and politicians, often by name for specific crimes, and his message is takes root among workers and farmers alike - doesn't quite add up..."
In a second report, correspondent Bertha Rodríguez Santos gives further details of Dámaso's legal situation, and explains that this is not an isolated case but rather part of an emerging pattern:
"Members of groups like the Fray Bartolomé Human Rights Center, the Committee for Popular Defense, and the Center for Women's Rights, among others, said that the Mexican state is using the justice system to persecute social fighters as part of its repression and intimidation against those who participate in the Other Campaign.
"They also said that as the state distances itself from the paramilitary groups that were part of the 'low-intensity war' it fought against the Zapatistas, it now uses private companies and the legal system to criminalize and incarcerate members of groups, collectives and families that are working for the Other Campaign.
"Aside from Dámaso Villanueva's arrest, the groups feel that other events, such as the assassination attempt against social fighter Gustavo Jiménez Pérez, and the cancellation of the well-known Enlace Civil group's bank accounts by Bancomer and HSBC, are part of the campaign of persecution and political repression against the Zapatista movement."
Let it be known, and clearly: political repression against one supporter of the Other Campaign is an attack on all. This and every case like it will be investigated, denounced and resisted until all those imprisoned working for a better future for their communities and country are released.
From somewhere in a country called América,
The Narco News Bulletin