We have received an urgent appeal from the Zapatistas in La Garrucha, Chiapas, Mexico's southernmost state.
It reached us via latinlasnet in Australia, where more information and contacts can be found.
Since their uprising on 1 January 1994, the Zapatistas have been under constant threat of from military and paramilitary forces. Despite this, and with international support, they have established imaginative forms of autonomy and self-government. In particular, they have upheld the cultural integrity of Mexico's large indigenous population, which in Chiapas is the majority.
As the political situation in Mexico deteriorates, the Zapatistas are once again in immediate need of international support.
The following is a communique by the Zapatista Good Government Council in La Garrucha.
Please stay alert for a global call out for action in solidarity with the EZLN [The Zapatistas]
The Road to the Future Good Government Council denounces the military incursion of 200 soldiers, along with local, state and judicial police into the Zapatista towns Hermenegildo Galeana and San Alejandro, in La Garrucha Caracol.
4 JUNE 2008
ACT OF PROVOCATION
To the people of Mexico and the world, to the comrades in the Other Campaign in Mexico and the world, to the national and international news media, to human rights defenders, to the honest non-governmental organizations
The Road to the Future Good Government Council makes the following denunciation:
1. A column was sighted consisting of a military convoy and public safety police, municipal police, and judicial agents at 9:00 in the morning southeastern time; there were two big trucks and three small trucks of soldiers, two public safety trucks, two municipal police trucks, an anti-riot tank, and a truckload of judicial agents.
2. In all there were around 200 provocateurs.
3. Before entering the town of Garrucha, the headquarters of the Caracol, about 30 meters from the edge of the town, three trucks from the convoy stopped and four soldiers got out of a truck as if to outflank the town of Garrucha by using the road to our collective cornfield. The people reacted and organized themselves to eject the convoy. The soldiers immediately got back in their truck and continued along the road. Those in front were intimidating the people, taking photos and filming them as they waited for the other provocateurs.
4. Arriving at the spot where the soldiers from Patiwitz were stationed, another military convoy joined the column, which continued on its way to engage in another provocation.
5. They arrived at Rancho Alegre, a community known as Chapuyil.
6. They got out of the trucks and headed for the town of Hermenegildo Galeana, where all the people are Zapatista support bases, accusing the townspeople of growing marijuana in their fields.
7. People throughout the Zapatista area of Garrucha, including the autonomous authorities, are witness to the fact that no such fieldsexist. The Zapatistas here work in their cornfields and banana plantations. They are willing to struggle for freedom, justice, and democracy and resist any provocation whatsoever.
8. Around 100 soldiers, 10 public security police, and 4 judicial agents headed for the town of Galeana. All the repressors painted their faces to confuse people and to avoid being recognized in the hill country. They walked for a while on the road and then went into the hills on their way to the town.
9. The federal column was guided by a person named Feliciano Román Ruiz, who is known to be from the Ocosingo municipal police.
10. The townspeople of Galeana - men, women, girls, and boys – organized themselves to eject the troops, come what may.
11. They met up with the troops in the middle of the road and the melee began. All the Zapatista women, men, boys and girls told the soldiers in no uncertain terms: 'Go back to where you came from, you aren't needed here. We want freedom, justice, and democracy - not soldiers.'
12. The soldiers said: 'We came here because we know there's marijuana here and we're going on ahead, come hell or high water.' That's when the people took out their machetes, shovels, rocks, slingshots, ropes and whatever was at hand, and drove them back.
13. The soldiers said: 'Well, this time we're not going any further, but we'll be back in two weeks and we're going in there, come hell or high water.'
14. They took another road down to the village of Zapatista support bases called San Alejandro where 9 vehicles with 40 soldiers and 10 policemen were waiting for them.
15. On their way down, they trampled the cornfield, which is the town's only food source.
16. In the Zapatista town of San Alejandro, the 60 repressive agents took up their positions, ready for a confrontation.
17. The people reacted and used everything at hand to drive back the federal forces.
18. Soldiers from Toniná, Patiwitz, and San Quintín participated in the confrontation.
19. People of Mexico and the world, we want to tell you that it won't be long before another confrontation occurs, provoked by Calderón and Juan Sabines and Carlos Leonel Solórzano, the municipal president of Ocosingo, who'll call out their dogs from all the forces of repression. We are not drug dealers. As you know, we are brothers and sisters of Mexico and the world. It's clear that they're coming for us Zapatistas. All three levels of the bad government are coming after us, and we're ready to resist them if that's what's necessary, just as our slogan says: 'We'll live for our homeland or die for freedom.'
20. People of Mexico and the world, you know that our struggle is a peaceful, political one. As it says in the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, it's a peaceful, political struggle known as the Other Campaign. Just look where the violent provocation is coming from.
21. Comrades of the Other Campaign in Mexico and other countries, we ask you to be on the alert because the soldiers said they'll be back in two weeks. We don't want war. We want peace with justice and dignity. But we have no other choice than to defend ourselves, resist them, and eject them when they come looking for a confrontation with us in the towns of the Zapatista support bases.
22. All we can tell you is to look and see where the provocation is coming from. We're now informing you of what's going on, hopefully in time.
That's all we have to say.
La Junta de Buen Gobierno
Elena Gordillo, Clara Claribel Pérez López, Freddy Rodríguez López Rolando Ruiz Hernández.