* Brazil’s MST joins the demand for his release and that of Francisco Santiz López

* Mexican immigrants take the petition to the General Consul in New York City


Andrés Núñez, former compañero in prison of professor Alberto Patishtán Gómez, during a fórum for his liberation in San Cristóbal de Las Casas on the 12th May. Photo: Moysés Zúñiga Santiago

By: Hermann Bellinghausen,
Periódico La Jornada

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, May 23, 2012

“If the Mexican government does not want to be judged in international courts for crimes against the population and the popular movements” it must free Professor Alberto Patishtán Gómez and the Zapatista Francisco Santiz López, “as an immediate matter”, declared Rafael Vilas Boas in the name of the Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement (Movimiento de Trabajadores Sin Tierra de Brasil, MST), at the end of the worldwide week for the freedom of the two indigenous men.

Meanwhile, Mexican immigrants from the Movement for Justice in El Barrio, from the Other Campaign in New York, stormed into the General Consulate of Mexico in that city on Monday, with the same demand. Despite the initial refusal to attend to them by consular personnel, who even closed the installations full of “countrymen”, the Consul finally listened to them and “behind him a large banner was unfolded that repeated our demand: ‘justice and freedom for Alberto and Francisco.’” Before a “profound silence” from the public, “we echoed the dignified call originating from Chiapas for our two prisoners”, says the New York movement, convoker of the worldwide week.

In the MST’s videotaped message, Vila Boas says that if Patishtán remains imprisoned, “it is because he is very competent, the work that he was doing was very good, and not criminal”. He is not “an enemy, but a pride for the country”, he adds. “If Mexico wants to be a democracy it is necessary to free the professor.”

With respect to Santiz López, he maintains: “The MST has a relationship of admiration and respect for the Zapatista movement, which is opposed to a model of political representation which is not in the interest of the great mass of the population. The compañero was collaborating in the organization of society, [therefore] he cannot be considered a criminal. He is a hero.” The Brazilian spokesperson considered it necessary “for Mexican society to make the distinction between a criminal action and grassroots organising”.

This morning, the Platform in Solidarity with Chiapas and Guatemala and the Centre for Documentation on Zapatismo delivered a letter for the Ambassador at the Mexican Embassy in Spain with the pronouncement in favour of the freedom of the two indigenous men, issued at the Global May Forum (Foro del Mayo Global) that took place at the weekend.

Other actions were carried out in the Parque del Retiro in Madrid and in Barcelona. In the Mexican capital, Other Campaign collectives held a Sunday meeting for several hours in the Bellas Artes (Fine Arts) esplanade demanding freedom for Patishtán, “a prisoner of conscience arbitrarily transferred to a high-security prison in Guasave, Sinaloa,” and for Santiz López, “detained and blamed for being a Zapatista support base.” They demanded “justice and voice to the silence that met the hunger strike and fast, which was valiantly maintained in 2011 by the following Chiapas prisoners: Pedro López Jiménez, Rosario Díaz Méndez, José Díaz López, Alfredo López Jiménez, Alejandro Díaz Santiz and Juan Díaz López, Andrés Núñez Hernández and Rosa López Díaz, Juan Collazo Jiménez and Enrique Gómez Hernández.”

Members of the Las Abejas group, meanwhile, declared this Tuesday in Acteal (Chenalhó) that “the governments try to disorganize and sow fear and terror in the independent organizations, social movements and collectives that are not in agreement with the system that is being exercised in Mexico, and with that strategy they have incarcerated Patishtán ever since 2000, falsely accused of participating in the homicide of seven police.” They demanded his freedom and the freedom of the “compañero” Santiz López, support base of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional), “arbitrarily incarcerated since December 4 [2011], accused of acts that happened in the community of Banavil (Tenejapa).”

Upon concluding the week of worldwide actions and protests, the New York-based Movement for Justice in El Barrio stated: “There remains a lot of work for us to do, as our two prisoners remain unjustly imprisoned.”

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Thursday, May 24, 2012
En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2012/05/24/politica/025n1pol

English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the:
International Zapatista Translation Service, a collaboration of the:
Chiapas Support Committee, California
Wellington Zapatista Support Group
UK Zapatista Solidarity Network

With additional English translation provided by
Movement for Justice in El Barrio