Solidarity With Chiapas

La Jornada
Saturday, July 1, 2000.

More Than 3000 Organizations and Intellectuals Demand Peace

Portuguese Nobel prizewinner, Jose' Saramago, Catalan novelist Manuel Va'zquez Montalba'n, Argentine soccer coach, Jorge Valdano and US political scientist James Petras, signed an appeal, along with 3100 union and political organizations, intellectuals and artists, in which they demanded that international institutions and bodies comply with the democracy and human rights clause of the Preferential Accords signed with the European Union.

They warned that - because of the fact this accord does not have a mechanism for monitoring and verification - it will be the institutions in the region which will "watch over and apply pressure to the Mexican government to comply with the signed accords."

Builders from the Copenhagen construction union, the staff officers of the Campesino Confederation of Peru, several Calvinist pastors from Switzerland, organized Third World emigrants from Karlsruhe, Germany, and the Barcelona Dead Poets Club, all added their signatures to those of great personalities of letters, in order to remind the world that, while the election is going on in Mexico, in one corner of the country, Chiapas, the war continues.

Politicians on the left of the ideological spectrum, ecologists and workers, academics and religious persons, artists and social activists from Brazil and Austria, Spain, Bolivia and France were able to come together to sign a public letter to "civil society," titled "We Will Stop the War in Chiapas," in which they demanded the following from the Mexican government:

- Demilitarization of the state of Chiapas.

- Disarmament and the breaking up of paramilitary groups.

- Respect for the San Andre's Accords.

- The return of those displaced by war to their places of origin.

- Release of political prisoners.

- Elimination of restrictions on presence of international observers.

Workers laid off from Peruvian shipyards, French theatrical groups, like Les Heretiques du Son, settlers from the Residents' Occupation Association of the Promised Land, and journalists from the Austrian newspaper, Suedwind, declared themselves to be "on alert" in this message, "in order to step up the fight for the defense of the Mexican people's human rights."
Together they are assuming the commitment to "watch over and pressure" the Mexican government "in order to keep those paths open for a just and dignified solution to the conflict."

From their far off and varied universities, they jointly understand "that spaces for liberty and justice for all are at stake in Chiapas and in Mexico."

Among those signing are 40 Swiss federal deputies, leaders and legislators from the Green Parties of Germany, Denmark and the Loire department in France, and a deputy from the regional parliament of Arago'n, Gonzalo Gonza'lez.

Leaders of European and South American worker and campesino confederations also signed. Also lending their weight were signatures from the numerous groups in solidarity with the zapatistas, organizations which have proliferated over the last few years in European civil society.

The display ad recalls that, while the election has been taking place, the Army has increased its number of troops in the state - with the added presence of 500 members of the Federal Preventive Police - which are added to the paramilitary groups and various police forces, "with a subsequent increase in violence in the context of the low intensity war."

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
©Copyright 1997-2000 Jeeni Criscenzo