The detention of various human rights promotors in the Taniperlas canyon and the threats of detention that weigh over the leaders of the civil organizations are, according to them, a strategy of beating, isolating and criminalizing the members of organized civil society. After evaluating the emergency situation of the 97 women and their children, who, for all intents and purposes, have been trapped in their houses for more than 12 days, the organizations made the decision to go the following day to Taniperlas.
The caravan, containing members of various campesino organizations from the zone, made public that it would bring food to the women in solidarity with them.
On the 22nd, the caravan left Ocosingo and joined with people from bordering communities on the road. All together, they totalled about 1500 persons going to Taniperlas.
The group of observers encountered a military checkpoint at the entrance of the dirt road that goes to the Taniperlas and San Miguel canyons. The officials at the checkpoint were notably nervious and conducted body searches of the observers.
Earlier the observers were warned by people from Taniperlas that the same day (the 21st) 300 members of the the Seguridad Publica (the State Police) had entered the community.
At the military checkpoint located at "The Peninsula" the soldiers wrote down the license plates of the all the vehicles that were part of the caravan and after this the convoy continued down the road.
At the encampment at Monte Líbano, there was no checkpoint, although there were 200-300 soldiers in the encampment, while others watched the caravan as it passed by.
At the entrance to Taniperlas, the military checkpoint that observers had been warned about some days earlier had been lifted.
The members of the caravan entered the community on foot where they were received by members of the communities from around Taniperlas and by women of the zapatista support bases and of ARIC Indepèndiente y Democratica. They also observed the military encampments surrounded by above ground trenches and members of the State Police hiding behind sand bags. Posters stating ¨Diaglogue and Peace" and "State Government" which had obviously been painted hastily before the arrival of the caravan hung in fornt of every trench.
PRI federal deputy Juan Felix Villafuerte was seen in the military precinct. Earlier he had left the caravan after having a short conversation with the representatives of the Municipal Council of Ocosingo that were heading the march.
Moments later, the same deputy Villafuerte was the object of strong questioning on the part of the representatives of various organizations. They accused him of concealing the illegal detentions of some of the community members identified with independent organizations, of initiating acts of repression and instigating violence between members of the community.
Meanwhile, the PRIista faction of the community grouped itself on top of a hill, some 300 meters away guarding the community commissary.
The women of Taniperlas felt relieved because of the support and the solidarity they received, but at the same time there was tension because of the uncertainty of the situation that they would be left in after the caravan left.
Some of them demanded that the military forces leave and expressed their discontent at not being able to have a normal life in their own community.
They denounced the occupation of the clinic and the the cooperative that belongs to them. They are denied access to the clinic and the cooperative because the military outpost has been constructed around them. Furthermore, they demanded the freedom of the members of their organizations jailed for invented crimes, rather they are jailed ONLY because they had been denounced by the PRIistas.
One group of observers that was near the community commissary, were surrounded by men armed with sticks while talking with some PRIistas. For obvious reasons, the presence of these men cut the interview short.
During the two hours the caravan was there, they did not witness any violent incidents and left in a orderly and peaceful manner.
After the event, the observers received two letters of denunciation from the women of Taniperlas and the displaced men of the community which is attached to this report.
Besides the written denunciations, some of the displaced made oral declarations before press and observers explaining the specifics of the situation in Taniperlas. They made reference of the need to compy with the San Andres Accords in order to resolve the present impasse.
A half an hour before the caravan was to leave, 6 State Police trucks left. They were ahead of the group of observers and blocked their passing on three occasions, detaining them and blocking the road for 15 to 30 minutes each time, not letting them pass with out explanation and justifying their stops by "Social Labor". The last military control was at the exit of the canyon. During the trip, the observers were able to see a large number of fires. Especially at night, there were a number of campfires in the forested zones that made us think that it was not a continuation of the brush-cutting work that happens during the day.
There were burning tree trunks (that had been cut by chainsaw) and it was clear that the fires had been started recently. We also noted that these same fallen trees had been upright in the morning.
This event represented the first attempt by civil soicety to break the encirclement around the communities and autonomous municipalties. In their declarations, the General Secretary of ARIC Independiente and Democrática stated that "the autonomy is a persecuted and prohibited word. In fact, when announcing the start of the march, the organizations received a warning on the part of the Secretary of Governance, inviting them not to undertake the refounding of the "Ricardo Flores Magon" Autonomous Municipality or suffer the consequences. More than merely ending the fear caused by the military presence that has joined with a group of community members intent on imposing by force a non-consensual decision, civil society has responded taking repossession and defending the concept of the autonomous municipality. Finally, one must question the ability of a group to be representative when it says that it is the majority even though it is possible to establish with a simple glance that the majority of the population has been forced under threat to abandon the community.
The fact that the women are staying in the community represents an obstacle to permanent displacement--a strategy to dismantle opposition movements, already proven in other regions of the state --it is particulary a problem for those people who are already displaced. Anyincident or attack to your physical integrity will unleash a reaction of unforseeable consequences."
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