Foundation of the Berlin Committee in support of the Zapatistas in San Marcos Avilés
At 1st January 1994, indigenous peasants in the southeastern mexican state of Chiapas rose against the government. Since then the Zapatistas, as they call themselves, are fighting for
land, autonomy, freedom, democracy, justice, health and education. Although they now pursue these goals peacefully, after 12 days of an initial armed struggle, they are since then
exposed to the sharpest state repression. In the course of counterinsurgency strategy, developed by the Americans, the mexican government operates against the movement with
the use of paramilitaries, disinformation and discrediting by media loyal to the state as well as attrition through the use of the regular army, of which about a third is now in the
Zapatista zone of influence.
The sad climax was the massacre of pacifist supporters of the Zapatistas by paramilitaries in 1997, in which 45 people were killed. Since the rising occurs regularly murder,
displacements, rapes, arrests and acts of destruction with the aim of intimidating and ultimately to destroy the movement. Various international and foreign organizations such as the WWF and GIZ as well as international companies such as Bayer and Coca-Cola are also involved in the insurgency, as they pursue their own interests in the resource-rich and very attractive tourist area.
The base of the Zapastista movement are the civilian support bases (bases de apoyo). These are hundreds of insurgent communities, which sustain mainly the “dignified rebellion” of the indigenous people und which are exposed most heavily to the state repression. The mexican state violates with his course of action against the right of self-determination of indigenous peoples, which is assured by international law through the United Nations declaration from 2007.
One of these civilian support bases is San Marcos Avilés, a community in the north of Chiapas. In 2010 the Zapatistas in San Marcos built an autonomous school, whereupon they
were displaced from their village by aggressors loyal to the state from the same village. Their fields were occupied or burned, their houses and belongings were devastated and
destroyed. After a one month-long odyssey the displaced inhabitants, which suffered severe hunger during the eviction, returned back to their village with the the help of a human rights center, peace activists and the Zapatista administration unit (Junta de Buen Gobierno).Although since then an international peace camp is located in the community, the Zapatistas of San Marcos Avilés are regularly exposed to threats, theft, destruction of their fields or physical attacks.
In the course of the presidential elections and the controversial election victory of the Party of the Institutional Revolution (PRI) in summer 2012 the agressions and repressions against San Marcos Avilés and other Zapatista communities got worse. The activists collective La Otra Neuva York published a videomessage, at the end of july in the course of solidarity campaign, in which the Zapatistas of San Marcos Avilés ask for international support (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY-8CBt3Vkg).
On 6th August 2012 the aggressors loyal to the state announced an “attack on the compas in the coming days” whereupon an international campaign for the support of the Zapatistas in San Marcos Avilés was initiated (http://sanmarcosaviles.wordpress.com/deutsch/).
In response to this request committees in different countries are currently being developed in support of the Zapatistas in the community. Objectives are to exchange information, to network, to make people aware about the situation in Mexico and Chiapas in general, and in San Marcos Avilés in particular, and to build public pressure.
On 26th August 2012 the Berlin Committee in Support of the Zapatistas in San Marcos Avilés was founded. The dedicated people here are some former human rights observers, who had been activ in the peace camp, and sympathizers of the zapatista uprising. We will not allow it, that the brave inhabitants of San Marcos Avilés will be displaced again. Together, we want to show our zapatista friends that their call will not be remain unanswered, and that there are rebellious hearts everywhere in the world. Together we want fight for a different world. Another world, that is possible.
„Preguntando caminamos“ – „questioning we go on ahead”
Berlin Committee, 09.09.2012