SIPAZ Activities (August to mid-October 2007)
31/10/2007
2007
02/01/2008

2007

30 December 2006 – 2 January 2007

The First Encounter between the Zapatistas and the Peoples of the World is held in Caracol 2, Oventik in the Chiapas highlands.

January

Amnesty International announces that the government of President Felipe Calderón “lacks a vision for the protection of human rights”.

19 January

Several major drug-traffickers, all of whom had pending arrest warrants in Mexico, are extradited to the United States. President Calderón says this is necessary because of the vulnerability of Mexican judges to threats and corruption.

25 January

Juan Sabines Guerrero, Governor of Chiapas, announces the creation of a Special Commission “to revise the legal situation of several people currently serving prison sentences”, with the aim of promoting reconciliation in the state. This revision, however, “would not question the reasons and circumstances which led Chiapas’s justice system to hand down these sentences”.

February

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the former presidential candidate claims to have “recovered” from the “blow” of the alleged electoral fraud, and affirms that he is already considering his candidature for the 2012 presidential elections. López Obrador subsequently begins a tour of all of Mexico’s municipalities.

21 March

The Special Representative of the United Nations on the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples, Rodolfo Stavenhagen, names Mexico as a country which tends to criminalize indigenous protest and use public force [i.e. the police and army] to repress it violently.

25 March

The second stage of The Other Campaign gets underway, with the departure of three delegations of commanders, including Subcomandante Marcos. The delegations travel across the north of Mexico until the beginning of June.

April

The President of the Inter American Human Rights Commission (CIDH), Florentín Meléndez, visits Mexico. The report on the current human rights situation submitted to Meléndez by Mexico’s civil society organizations points out that President Calderón’s government “has made no public statement on his human rights policy”.

1 April

Luís H. Álvarez, representative of the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples and ex-Government Commissioner for Peace in Chiapas, states that “the EZLN is not a negotiating partner for the Government of Felipe Calderón”. According to his analysis, it no longer represents, nor is made up of, the state’s indigenous communities.

9-10 April

The controversial Plan Puebla-Panamá is re-launched at a summit of heads of state from Central and South America and Mexican state governors held in Campeche (Mexico).

1 July

One year after the presidential elections, a protest is held in support of López Obrador which fills the Zocalo, Mexico City’s main square.

5-10 July

Eight explosive charges are detonated in PEMEX oil pipelines in Guanajuato and Querétaro. The Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) claims responsibility, stating that they are part of a campaign against the government of Felipe Calderón to demand the release of two EPR members, forcibly disappeared in Oaxaca in May 2007.

12 July

Luis Echeverría, accused of genocide during his role as Interior Minister during the Tlatelolco Massacre on 2 October 1968, is granted an indefinite stay of trial by a Mexican court.

16 July

Violence returns to Oaxaca – for more than three hours, members and supporters of the APPO are involved in a confrontation with police, leaving some 42 people wounded from both sides and sixty people detained.

21-30 July

The Second Encounter between Zapatistas and the Peoples of the World is held in three of the five Zapatista Caracoles [local administrative centres] with the participation of more than three thousand people.

18 August

A joint police and military operation to evict 39 families (members of the communities of Buen Samaritano and San Manuel, in the municipality of Ocosingo) is conducted in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve.

1 September

President Felipe Calderón gives his first State of the Nation address amid a formidable police operation. In a ceremony which lasts less than five minutes, Calderón delivers his report to more than 100 empty seats, as left-wing representatives refuse to be present for the event as a sign of their support for López Obrador.

24 September

The EZLN decides to suspend the tour of Zapatista commanders through the southern and central areas of Mexico. Originally planned to continue until December, the EZLN cancels the tour because of what they describe as a new government offensive against Zapatista communities.

2 October

More than 100 groups and organizations form the National Front Against Repression, designed to fight what they report as a new ‘dirty war’ against social organizations.

7 October

Elections are held in Chiapas to choose 118 mayors and forty local deputies. The PRI wins the majority of these seats.

11-14 October

The Encounter of the Indigenous Peoples of America is held in Yaqui territory (in Vicam, Sonora) amid a strong police presence. Over 570 indigenous delegates attend, representing 66 indigenous peoples from twelve countries of the Americas.

17 October

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights warns that Mexico is a leading nation in terms of “limits on freedom of expression”, given the levels of threats and homicides against journalists.

Late October

The Mérida Initiative (also known as the “Plan Mexico”) is announced in the United States. The US government commits US$ 1.4 billion to a joint strategy to combat drug-trafficking, a plan which will include military, legal and development assistance components. Critics point out the limited success of its sister program, Plan Colombia, as well the high risk of an increase in human rights violations against Mexican civilians.

October-November

Severe rainy-season floods leave more than one million people homeless in Tabasco and the northern municipalities of Chiapas.

17 – 20 November

The Caravan of the Other Campaign for the Defence of Human Rights and the Collective Rights of the Zapatista Peoples makes a visit to the Zapatista communities.

22 November

The Solidarity Network “Decade of Impunity” reports that there are more than 500 political prisoners currently detained in Mexico.

4 December

One year after his detention, indigenous man Diego Arcos Meneses, named a “political prisoner” by Amnesty International, is released from prison. He had been held in relation to the deaths caused during the eviction of the Viejo Velasco Suárez estate.

13-17 December

In memory of historian Andrés Aubry, the EZLN, the magazine Contrahistorias and CIDECI-Unitierra (San Cristóbal de Las Casas) holds a conference with the participation of intellectuals from Mexico and overseas, together with Subcomandante Marcos. In his communiqué of December 16, the Subcomandante affirms that he is the military leader of the EZLN and that after the conference he will not be participating in public events for some time. He continues: “Those of us who have been at war know how to recognize the paths which prepare it and bring it near. The signs of war on the horizon are clear. War, like fear, has a smell. And we are beginning to breathe in its foetid odour in our lands … In the words of Naomi Klein, we should prepare ourselves for the shock.”

20-22 December

The 10th anniversary of the Acteal Massacre is commemorated in Acteal with a National Encounter Against Impunity (20-21 December), and a mass on 22 December.

28 December 2007 – 2 January 2008

The Third Encounter between Zapatistas and the People of the World, and the First Encounter of Zapatista Women “Commandante Ramona and Zapatista Women”, is held in Caracol 3, La Garrucha.