Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Wellington group takes part in Week of Worldwide Action


Grace Leung and Paul Bruce outside the Mexican Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington group takes part in the “Week of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives! The Bachajón struggle continues!”

By Julie Webb-Pullman

At lunchtime today members of the Wellington Zapatista Support held a candlelight vigil outside the Mexican Embassy in Wellington as part of the “Week of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives! The Bachajón struggle continues!”

After constructing a small shrine with flowers and candles in remembrance of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, an indigenous community leader assassinated in April, the group hand-delivered a letter to the Mexican Ambassador to New Zealand, demanding that Guzman’s killers be brought to justice, and an end to the blatant abuses of rights of the Tzeltal communities of San Sebastián Bachajón.

The text of the letter is as follows:

Her Excellency Ms Rosaura Leonora Rueda Gutierrez
Ambassador
Embassy of Mexico
Wellington
NEW ZEALAND

27 June 2013

Dear Madam

We, the Wellington Zapatista Support Group, have been following with concern Mexican Federal, State and Municipal responses to the civil resistance in defence of their land by the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to The Other Campaign in the Agua Azul region of Chiapas.

Since 2007, the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón have suffered violence and repression at the hands of Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)-backed authorities and paramilitary organizations. Their resistance to the take-over of Tzeltal traditional lands for transnational projects, particularly the site of the Agua Azul waterfalls which the ejidatarios have been responsibly and sustainably managing for many years, has placed them squarely in the firing line of those who seek to dispossess them of their lands for commercial gain.

Concerted attempts to break up the community and its resistance began in 2009, with the detention of eight ejidatarios and adherents to the Other Campaign by state and federal police, and the arrest and vicious assault of Ricardo Lagunes at a PRI paramilitary checkpoint after he left a meeting in Bachajón. Two years later in 2011, 117 ejidatarios were arbitrarily detained by police during an eviction attempt at the toll booth at the entrance to the Agua Azul area. Ten, including Pérez Álvaro, remained political prisoners for an extended period of time.

Physical violence and repression have been coupled with legal and judicial abuses, including court decisions denying the rights of ejidatarios, and their arrests and eviction in 2011 enabling authorities to take control of the collectively-owned lands.

The ongoing assaults on Bachajón autonomy culminated on the night of April 24, 2013 in the assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán in the doorway of his home.

Guzmán, Secretary General of the three centres of the ejido since April 2010, was riddled with six bullets after answering his door – the assailant fled the scene in a red pick-up, and no-one has yet been charged with his murder.

Hugo Blanco, director of Peruvian magazine Lucha Indígena, this week noted the participation of the rogue state of Israel, notorious for its impunity for 65 years of crimes against humanity and human rights abuses of Palestinians, in assisting the Mexican state to repress its indigenous peoples in Chiapas. “So far there has been no progress in the investigations into the perpetrators of the crime; on the contrary, harassment and persecution are constant. A few days after the murder of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, Jorge Luis Llaven Abarca, Secretary of Security and Civil Protection in the State of Chiapas, announced the training that the Israeli Ministry of Defense in Mexico will provide for the local police,” he wrote.
This does not augur well, either for the bringing before justice of the killers of Juan Guzmán, or for the protection of the collectively-owned lands of the indigenous Tzeltal from the ‘tourarism’ being practised by transnational business interests.

In this, the “Week of Worldwide Action: Juan Vazquez Guzman Lives! The Bachajón struggle continues!” the Wellington Zapatista Support Group adds its voice to the international chorus demanding justice for Juan Vázquez Guzmán, and in support of the struggle of the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón for their rights.

We demand:

1. a full investigation into the assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán in the doorway of his home on the evening of April 24, 2013, and punishment of those responsible;

2. The release of ejidatarios Antonio Estrada Estrada (prisoner in CERSS 17, Playas de Catazajá, Chiapas), Miguel Vázquez Deara (prisoner in CERSS 16, Ocosingo, Chiapas) and Miguel Demeza Jiménez (prisoner in CERSS 14, El Amate);

3. Respect for the right of the Tzeltal people of San Sebastián Bachajón to self-determination and to exercise their autonomy as stipulated in Agreement No. 169 regarding indigenous and tribal peoples in independent countries United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the San Andrés Accords, Document 1, 3. 1. Document 2, II, IV (2. 3.); Document 3.1 (c, d); Document 1, Principle of the New Relationship 5;

4. Respect for their right to use and enjoy their natural resources, which as indigenous peoples they have protected for centuries, as referenced in Agreement No. 169 regarding indigenous and tribal peoples in independent countries, pursuant to article 13.2 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and San Andrés Accords 1.4 B. 2.; Document 1, Principle of the New Relationship 2; and

5. The immediate withdrawal of all military, paramilitary, and police forces from the entire region, such that the natural and national treasure of Agua Azul is returned to the common ownership from which it has been wrested, and the rights of the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón are upheld.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Anzac Issue Out Now: Werewolf 47

Alison McCulloch: Lest We Remember

Local iwi have plans to spruce up the Te Ranga site as part of the 150th commemorations this year of key battles in the “New Zealand Wars”, but not a lot of money to do it with.

Information gathered from numerous government agencies shows that while more than $25 million is being spent on monuments and commemorations relating to foreign wars, primarily World War I and its centenary, only around $250,000 has been set aside for those fought on our own soil. More>>

Anne Russell: Anzac Day - Identity Politics, With Guns

Even cursory research into media reports from the past forty years reveals a cultural shift in the commemoration of Anzac Day. Among other things, turnout at Dawn services has increased significantly in recent decades.

Contemporary numbers are estimated at 3,000-4,000 in Wellington, and 10,000-15,000 in Auckland. Newspaper reports from the 1970s and 80s estimated Wellington turnouts at 300-800, and Auckland at anywhere from 600 to 4,000. More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Spookwatch: New Inspector-General Of Intelligence And Security Appointed

Prime Minister John Key hasannounced the appointment of Cheryl Gwyn as Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security. The appointment was made by the Administrator of the Government on behalf of the Governor General and is for a term of three years. More>>

Crowdsourcing: Green Party Launches Internet Rights And Freedoms Bill

The Green Party has today launched the Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill, New Zealand’s first ever Bill crowdsourced by a political party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Shane Jones Departure

Shane Jones has left Parliament in the manner to which we have become accustomed, with self interest coming in first and second, and with the interests of the Labour Party (under whose banner he served) way, way back down the track. More>>

COMMENT:

Multimedia: PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference - April 22 2014

The Prime Minister met with reporters to discuss: • The recent improvement in the economy with a growing job market • Income and wealth inequality • Easter trading laws • The New Zealander killed in a drone strike in Yemen... More>>

ALSO:

Easter Trading: Workers 'Can Kiss Goodbye To Easter Sunday Off'

The Government’s decision to “reprioritise” scarce labour inspector resources by abandoning the enforcement of Easter Sunday Shop Trading laws means workers can kiss goodbye to a guaranteed day off, says Labour’s Associate Labour Issues spokesperson Darien Fenton. More>>

ALSO:

ACT Don't Go For Maximum Penalty: Three Strikes For Burglary, Three Years Jail

Three strikes for burglary was introduced to England and Wales in 1999. As in New Zealand, burglary was out of control and given a low priority by the police and the courts. A Labour government passed a three strikes law whereby a third conviction for burglaries earned a mandatory three years in prison... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Drone Strikes And Judith Collins‘ Last Stand

The news that a New Zealand citizen was killed last November in a US drone attack in Yemen brings the drones controversy closer to home. More>>

ALSO:

Elections: New Electorate Boundaries Finalised

New boundaries for the country’s 64 General and seven Māori electorates have been finalised – with an additional electorate created in Auckland. More>>

ALSO:

Policies: Labour’s Economic Upgrade For Manufacturing

Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today announced his Economic Upgrade for the manufacturing sector – a plan that will create better jobs and higher wages. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And ACC Work Of Sir Owen Woodhouse

With the death of Sir Owen Woodhouse, the founding father of the Accident Compensation Scheme, New Zealand has lost one of the titans of its post-war social policy. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news