Witness for peace - Chiapas

The indigenous people of Chiapas who live in La Selva Lacandona are being harassed, disappeared, and dispossessed by both Mexican Government forces and Mexican Army trained and equipped paramilitaries to facilitate cutting of forest timber and the establishment of eucalyptus plantations for use in paper pulp production, and the overall pillage of the area. There is an urgent need for international observers to go there, bring back the stories of the local people, spread the word in their home communities and push for a change in the American government and corporate policies which have helped to create this situation. Legislators cannot so easily dismiss constituents who can say, "I have been there, stayed with the people, and this is what I saw..."

Many of us who are familiar with the repression of the indigenous people in Guatemala which reached its peak in the eighties would give anything to have been able to stop it all in its early stages. Now, we have that opportunity.

It seems that the same vicious cycle is reappearing in Chiapas. We must therefore take the Guatemalan cry of "Nunca Mas" as our inspiration and focus the light of world attention on the dark deeds being done in La Lacandona so that their journey down that bloody road is a shorter one. We are calling on all of you who read the postings to this list, to provide international eyes this summer and to return to the states and give voice to the voiceless.

Cindy Scheldorf, Cathy Ford and I are leading a delegation sponsored by Witness for Peace to Chiapas, Mexico. We are members of the Kentucky Interfaith Taskforce on Latin America and the Caribbean (KITLAC) and of the Louisville Chapter of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR).

This Human and Economic Rights Delegation will focus on the issues of Globalization, Free Trade, and the War Against the Poor. It will run from August 1st through 13th. We are currently recruiting members of the delegation. I will gladly mail our flyer and an application to those who respond with a mailing address.

If you cannot go with us, there are people of limited means who would like to go. Donations for scholarships for these people would be greatly appreciated. Also welcome are frequent-flyer miles which could be used to lower the cost of airfare. Contributions (tax-deductible) can be made out to KITLAC with the annotation "Chiapas delegation" and sent to:

KITLAC,
c/o Pat Geier
2100 Gardiner Lane, Suite 311
Louisville, Kentucky 40205 U.S.A.

KITLAC is a 501c3 non-profit organization.

You can contact me (Jorge Aros) at: tepisquintla@hotmail.com

Contact Cathy at: fordhoff@iglou.com

or Cindy at: lmscheldorf@msn.com

Thanks.
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READ MORE ABOUT IT
Conflict in Chiapas: Understanding the Modern Mayan World
by Worth H. Weller, Ben Weller (Photographer), Julia Weller (Photographer)
$16.95, Paperback, March 1, 2000
Rebellion in Chiapas : An Historical Reader
by John Womack (Editor)
$14.36, Paperback , March 1999
Voices from Exile : Violence and Survival in Modern Maya History
by Victor Montejo
$18.17, Hardcover, October 1999
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