Immediate Freedom Demanded for a Zapatista Support Base, Manuel Gómez Vázquez

By: Yessica Morales

After 2 years and 3 months arbitrarily deprived of his freedom, he is judicially criminalized for being, along with his family, Zapatista.
Photo: Frayba

*Manuel, a 22-year-old Tseltal campesino, is a native of Ricardo Flores Magón autonomous Zapatista rebel municipality, Good Government Junta Rebel Thought, Caracol IX, Nuevo Jerusalén, located in the official municipality of Ocosingo.

*The oral trial hearing was scheduled for this March 7. Consequently, they demanded that the Prosecutor’s Office dismiss the accusation against the Maya-Tseltal, because it was based on a set-up. However, that did not happen.

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) demanded the immediate release of Manuel Gómez Vázquez, a support base of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN, Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional), who has been arbitrarily deprived of his freedom for 2 years and 3 months in the State Social Reinsertion Center for the Sentenced (CERSS) No. 16 in Ocosingo.

An armed civilian group and community authorities illegally arrested Manuel on December 4, 2020. He was tortured and suffered cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. The next day, he was handed over to the Municipal Public Security Secretariat and investigative police from the Indigenous Justice Prosecutor’s Office, under the State Attorney General’s Office (FGE).

He was made available to the Control Court and the Court of Prosecution for the Ocosingo Judicial District on December 9, 2020, added the Frayba Center.

Between December 4 and 5 of that year, in the El Censo ejido 1, in Ocosingo, a series of violent acts took place that resulted in 4 people dead. As a result, the Human Rights Center affirmed that the Office of the Prosecutor of Indigenous Justice did not carry out a diligent and scientific investigation, charging Gómez Vázquez with homicide, despite the fact that at the time of the events he was at home with his family.

Manuel is being judicially criminalized along with his family, for being part of the EZLN support base, since the Prosecutor’s Office lacks evidence to accuse him, Frayba said.

On the contrary, they indicated, that the office had fabricated evidence to suit its own purposes, since they did not present the alleged witnesses to testify, which has resulted in the Oral Trial hearing being postponed on two occasions. In addition, there are no autopsies for the homicides and the State Judiciary has exceeded the preventive detention that in no case shall exceed two years.

Finally, they made a call to the individuals, collectives, as well as national and international organizations, to be in solidarity and demand that the FGE and the State Judicial Power immediately release the EZLN support base.

Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo, Tuesday March 7, 2023, and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee and reposted with permission by Schools for Chiapas.

You are invited to participate in the Chiapas Support Committee’s Forum on Megaprojects (Interoceanic Corridor and the “Maya” Train). You can register for the El Sur Resiste / The South Resists forum here.

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  1. El Censo has been anti-Zapatista since the early days of the EZLN. An armed civilian group, the Opddic, was born in the communities of El Censo and Taniperla (Ocosingo), on the periphery of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, in the Tseltal Jungle area. Hermann Bellinghausen explains the history in La Jornada, February 27, 2007.
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