Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Zapatistas: Plan Merida Seeks to Eliminate Dissidents

They Believe that the Capitalist System is the Origin of Injustice

by Hermann Bellinghausen, La Jornada
translated for Narco News by Kristin Bricker

Caracol of Morelia, Chiapas, June 22. In bringing to a close the American Meeting Against Impunity on Sunday night, the Zapatista Good Government Council (JBG in its Spanish initials) from the Tzotz Choj region argued that Plan Merida [also known as the Merida Initiative or Plan Mexico] isn't against organized crime, but rather an instrument to "jail, torture, and disappear" those who fight for their rights.

In front of participants from 15 American nations and observers from another couple of European countries, the JBG summed up the problem of impunity, discussed here over the past two days, where the capitalist system was unanimously identified as the origin of the injustices that devastate the world.

"The government of 'Pelipe' Calderon [as it is pronounced here because there is no 'f' sound in tzotzil nor in tzeltal] and his master, the president of the United States, are 'pocused' on Plan Merida, which they say will do away with drug crimes. But it's not really what they say it is in the media. In reality, it is to harass, jail, torture, and disappear the people who organize to defend their rights."

In the words of the compañera Victoria, dressed in the traditional shawl of Huixtán, the JBG recognized that the meeting shed light on "the injustices in all countries committed by their bad governments and their owners, who are called capitalists. They impose their own laws in favor of big business owners, forgetting about the people, the poverty, and the misery, and they take away our natural resources so that we can't enjoy what is ours."

She called on participants to "look for ways to unite ourselves so that some day we will be free from this slavery that today the whole world suffers from. We are obligated to seek spaces and paths that allow our imprisoned compañeros and our children to have a dignified life."

Through autonomy, she added, the Zapatistas "are working to solve the problems that come up with different organizations and our brothers who are linked to the bad government."

Minutes later, while summing up the event in front of a couple thousand participantes, Paraguayan Martin Almada baptized the meeting "from pain to courage" and ended with an aphorism-slogan: "Injustice has been an instrument of domination. Now it will be instrumental in our liberation."

Against that which endless repressions would teach and encourage, no one in the meeting renounced justice. The consensus was to rescue it from the hands of the criminals and the unjust. Silvya Marcos, in the "Impunity and Justice, Views from Women" roundtable (one of the five that occurred on Sunday afternoon) said that it wasn't about revenge.

Barbara Zamora of the Land and Liberty law firm asked, "Why do we need a new justice system and autonomous tribunals? The essential problem is that justice is no longer used to re-establish harmony, perhaps because in our age we no longer understand what order and harmony mean." To Zamora, who has defended hundreds of political prisoners, "It is evident that laws are no longer made in order to maintain order in the world, but rather to re-establish or protect the interests and values of one group."

Echoing the general feeling, she stated, "We no longer recognize our country's judicial institutions, because we don't see ourselves in the order they propose to us, in the threads that weave together the community they try to make us a part of." Now "we face a double task: create a new tie that binds us--a completely different kind of political experience--and a new way to protect it."

Also in the vein of finding alternative ways of punishing or preventing crimes against humanity, where "the perpetrator is always the State," Juan de Dios Monge, from the Collective of Zapatista Lawyers and also a defender of many political prisoners and groups in resistance, argued that impunity is the State's modus operandi to avoid punishment for crimes against humanity.

This is "systematic" to the point of "having exhausted the national courts" in favor of maintaining impunity for repression, presumably in the name of legality. In Mexico, the State "conflates justice with revenge" and the courts "make up crimes" with repression being the goal. That is where the necessity of an autonomous international tribunal to eradicate this practice comes from.

Various South American participants mentioned that, in order to protect criminals, the concept of genocide is removed from the American states' logic, including when they finally do punish repressions that occurred in the past.

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