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Network against Repression and for Solidarity


Network against Repression and for Solidarity


Translation by Julie Webb Pullman

La Brigada de Observación de la Red contra la Represión y por la Solidaridad (The Observation Brigade of the Network against Repression and for Solidarity) formed by different groups and organizations reaffirm their support and sympathy for the dignified struggle of fellow adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle and the Other Campaign for the defense of Earth and the Territory of their peoples.

In our journey we find that there is a common and recurrent logic that stains with violence the ejidos of Mitzitón, Jotolá and San Sebastian Bachajon:

- Constant pressure from state police and the paramilitary groups Army of God and Organization for the Defense of Indigenous Rights (OPDIC), in the form of harassment, physical and psychological aggression and threats of arrest, death and rape against the inhabitants of these communities.

- Impunity on the part of the three levels of government (state, municipal and federal), which enables the continuation of violence and the sheltering of the perpetrators.

- Dispossession and eviction from their land and territory, in violation of the autonomy and self determination of indigenous peoples based on laws and treaties recognized in our country (such as section 169 of the ILO Convention).


In the Tzotzil community of ejidatarios Mitzitón, Other Campaign adherents have declared resistance against the proposed passage of the San Cristobal-Palenque highway through its territory, affecting 40 hectares of forest (including fir and oak forests), 10 acres of farmland, and 2 wells.

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Within the community a religious group called Church of Eagle Wings has appeared, which is clearly linked to another paramilitary group Army of God. This group has declared itself in favor of the passage of the motorway through Mitzitón, leading to confrontation with the majority of the ejidatarios, who have rejected the predatory highway project because it will only benefit the capitalists and the government.

The fighting escalated on 21 July 2009 when the ejido assembly decided to send a commission to review land that had been designated as common land, which it knew had been invaded by Carmen Díaz, leader of the Church of Eagle Wings, and by members of the paramilitary group Army of God.

On the way to the site, the commission was surprised by paramilitaries on board a pickup truck who drove into the community members in a criminal attack, killing one and injuring four more: Aurelio Díaz Hernández died from being run over, and Javier Gómez Herédia suffered a broken left leg and right leg injuries that have kept him incapacitated for 4 Months. Fernando Herédia y José Herédia Jiménez were beaten by Army of God members, resulting in bruising.

The vehicle contained several paramilitary groups but only the driver, Francisco Jiménez is being held, leaving several people at large who have still not been arrested

At the moment there is a tense calm in face of the prospect of further aggression by the paramilitaries.


Threats of dispossession of land by paramilitary group OPDDIC have run wild because of their impunity for acts against members of the Other Campaignin the tzeltal ejido of Jotolá.

The escalation of violence began with the arrest of Professor Manuel Aguilar Gomez, community leader, on 20 November 2008.

On 18 September 2009 Ricardo Lagunes, member of the Human Rights Center Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, was assaulted in an ambush by members of OPDDIC and his colleague and San Sebastion Bachajon resident Carmen Aguilar Gómez suffered bullet wounds, while Rosa Díaz Gómez was brutally beaten and required emergency surgery.

Four attackers were apprehended for these attacks: Juan Cruz Méndez, Rogelio Cruz Méndez, Guadalupe Cruz Méndez and Agustín Hernández Santis, all of whom were released within 72 hours of their arrest.

Since then, women and girls have been subjected to constant threats of rape by the released and their families.

Ejido San Sebastain BACHAJON

The persistent activities of OPDDIC were heightened in this Tzeltal community after the state government of Juan Sabines gave the paramilitaries original documentation falsely verifying their membership of the ejido, and since June 2007 granting the paramilitary group the concession from the toll booth at the resort of Agua Azul waterfalls. From this date, harassment and threats have continued unabated.

On 18 June 2008 the residents of Ejido San Sebastian Bachajon took a stand to exercise their right to use and enjoy their territory, as stipulated in the Land Rights and Indigenous Peoples' territories.

This resulted in the arrest of 7 inhabitants of the ejido, a Zapatista support base, of whom two are still imprisoned: Antonio Gómez Saragos y Geronimo Gómez Saragos.

On 16 April 2009, a police operation involving 1800 members of the sectoral police, the state preventive police and army, destroyed the tollbooth.

On 18 September 2009: Ambush at Jotolá where a member of San Sebastian Bachajon, Carmen Aguilar Gomez was shot by members of OPDICC.

On 26 September 2009 the dignified people of San Sebastian Bachajon took a stand to recover the toll booth, until now the income from the toll booth has been shared for the common benefit, not going just to one paramilitary group or the government.

The intellectual authors involved:

PRI member Antonio Moreno López, Municipal President of Chilón, who protects and supports the paramilitary group of OPDDIC with support from Governor Juan Sabines, officials of the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples and the Government delegate Cesar Santiago.

In both Mitzitón and San Sebastian Bachajon there is a total repudiation of the San Cristobal-Palenque highway.

Therefore we view with considerable concern the situation of violence, which we see also by the fact that a group of 60 people had to accompany us on our journey, which was also to document cases of rape of women and the imprisonment of fellow adherents in other regions.

Our position as an Observation Brigade Observation is to reaffirm solidarity with the populations that are adherents to the Other Campaign in these three collectives. We tell our colleagues there, they are not alone and that the bad state government headed by Juan Sabines should respect their right to use the land, their right to freely choose the form of development desired by the peoples and their right to organize themselves autonomously and independently to achieve their just goals.

Our organizations and groups will be watching for any event or subsequent aggressions.

We also express our solidarity with the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center, which has been the subject of recent attacks and harassment.

Against dispossession and repression, solidarity. If they touch one of us, they touch us all. The Other Campaign continues.


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