Freedom and Justice for San Marcos Avilés and Francisco Sántiz López”
The UK-based National Campaign Against Fees & Cuts
Declares its Support for San Marcos Avilés and Sántiz López
From the United Kingdom, the National Campaign Against Fees & Cuts (NCAFC) has issued the following declaration endorsing the international “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas: Freedom and Justice for San Marcos Avilés and Francisco Sántiz López” Campaign.
In opposition to the destructive trend towards privatization that is destroying higher education the world over, the nearly 8,000 student and education worker activists who form the NCAFC have fought since February 2010 for a just system of higher education that is free and funded by “the taxation of the rich and business.” The following statement approved by the NCAFC joins the thousands of individuals, collectives, and organizations from dozens of countries worlwide who stand in firm solidarity with San Marcos Avilés and Francisco Sántiz López. In doing so, the NCAFC makes the necessary connection between the struggle for autonomous education in San Marcos and the struggle for socially just education at the global level.
Statement of the National Campaign Against Fees & Cuts (NCAFC)
200 Zapatista supporters in the indigenous community of San Marcos Avilés in Chiapas, Mexico, are at very serious risk of violent assault and displacement. The threats made against them have increased sharply since the Mexican elections in July 2012.
The aggressors are government supporters organised in paramilitary style groups who are heavily armed with shotguns, rifles and pistols, and are specifically threatening the women and children. They have already stolen the land, crops and livestock of the community, leaving them without a food supply and destroyed their free autonomous school. Observers report that the situation is one of siege, and that the families are heavily traumatised.
In 2010, 170 men women and children were forced to take refuge in the open on the mountainside during the rainy season for 33 days. The current situation is one where it is feared another such tragedy may occur at any time. The aggressors are threatening to kidnap the community authorities and forcibly displace the rest of the population. Anyone denouncing this harassment, they say, will be locked away like Francisco Santiz Lopez, political prisioner since December 2011.
In the face of this alarming situation, an international solidarity campaign was launched recently, and a Worldwide Declaration in support of the community of San Marcos Avilés has been issued calling for an immediate end to the repression.
–An immediate end to all death threats, verbal and physical harassment, and threats against the property and well-being of the Zapatista Support Base members by elements of the political parties in the San Marcos Avilés ejido
–Protection for the lives and safety of the Zapatista support base members of San Marcos Avilés
–Respect for the Zapatista Support Base community’s inalienable right to autonomy as indigenous peoples, as enshrined in the internationally recognized ILO Convention No. 169 and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, both of which the government of Mexico has signed
–Immediate release of Francisco Santiz Lopez
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