“Justice in Mexico is upside down”, complain las Abejas
La Jornada, Saturday April 20, 2013
Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, April 19
In an indigenous pilgrimage which was also a very well attended political march, the capital of Chiapas became familiar with, live and amplified, the clamour for the freedom of professor Alberto Patishtán Gómez. In a significant gesture of solidarity, more than 8000 teachers from the democratic bloc of section 7 of the National Union of Education Workers followed the march of about 6000 pilgrims, the vast majority of them Tzotziles, and at every moment supported the demand for the liberty of one who is, certainly, the most well-known and highly respected Chiapas teacher in the world.
At the doors of the Federal Judiciary, which remained closed, the Catholic organization Believing People (Pueblo Creyente) said: “Honourable magistrates of the first appellate court of the twentieth circuit, do not continue to stain your dignity, your prestige, by keeping our brother a prisoner. The decision you make will be written in the historical memory of the Mexican people, do not repeat the same action which Pilate made before Jesus, when knowing that he was innocent he washed his hands and delivered the death sentence”.
The column of about 15 thousand people, which paralyzed the city centre for over three hours, arrived first at the headquarters of the Federal Judicial Power, located on a closed street, which was occupied entirely by indigenous to the sound of flutes, guitars and drums, carrying the crosses of all the dead of Acteal. Men and women from Pantelhó, Huitiupán, Simojovel, Chenalhó, San Andres, Zinacantán, Huixtán, Chamula, San Cristobal de las Casas and of course El Bosque, where Patishtán comes from, did not cease to repeat his name during the whole march. Hundreds of small posters showed his face over a red irradiation.
Waiting on Avenida Central, thousands of teachers, who were also marching against labour and education reforms, supported their demands. With unusual generosity they agreed to go behind the indigenous. The speakers in their respective turns said “in Patishtán we recognize one of our own, we recognize his innocence, and we join his protest against the system of justice”.
A few kilometres from here, in Navenchauc, on the old road to Los Altos, the President was re-launching his National Crusade against Hunger, dressed in his Zinacanteco finery, (a PRI ritual) along with the state governor and his Brazilian guest Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as guest of honour. Did the words being shouted on Central Avenue in Tuxtla Gutierrez reach them, even as a vibration?
“Today, the federal and state government (the new Pharaoh, Herod and Pilate) have proposed the strategies of a crusade against hunger. There is no truth in their words, we believe and are convinced by facts that it is really a crusade against the hungry”, the Tzotziles added in their discourse.
“We the indigenous and campesino peoples, yes we are hungry, but with hunger for truth and justice in the Acteal case, hunger for the immediate and unconditional release of our brother Alberto, hunger for respect and love for our Mother Earth, hunger for the fulfilment of the San Andres Accords, hunger for peace for the indigenous peoples, not for the crumbs which the government gives so as to quiet their conscience, not to see the truth, to eclipse and bury the State crime committed in Acteal.”
At its turn, the Civil Society Organization Las Abejas, whose presence was conspicuous, demonstrated in front of the Government Palace, a few blocks ahead, and spoke of its repudiation of “the massive release of the paramilitary murderers of Acteal”. In a severe tone Las Abejas stated: “Justice is upside down in Mexico. What kind of language must we speak so that (the powers) understand?”
In front of the Government Palace, Pueblo Creyente repeated its message to the Chiapas magistrates, who, in a few days, will have to resolve the freedom of the many-named teacher of El Bosque, who today reaches 42 years of age, 12 of them spent in prison: "Given the reality of the injustice that the indigenous live, profe Alberto was struggling from his town and accompanied his people fighting for a just and dignified life. The federal, state and municipal governments didn’t like the profe’s humanitarian work, so they sought to accuse him of a crime, and he was sentenced to 60 years in prison for a crime he did not commit". In conclusion: “No more innocent prisoners. No to the government’s repression of the teachers.”