A member of Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group writes:
I have just returned from the Zapatista village of Bolon Ajaw, Chiapas, where on 6th February 230 civilian Zapatistas took part in an action to retake control of their “reclaimed lands” which had been invaded and taken over since 20 January by the paramilitary group OPDDIC.
Thanks to inspiring solidarity from Zapatistas from many different communities the Zapatistas continue to control the land, and are carrying out collective work there.
The situation is very tense and the Zapatista villagers of Bolon Ajaw stressed the vital importance of international solidarity, urging us to spread the news of their struggle around the world. Human rights observers from Fray Bartolome are now present to act as a deterrent against more violence from the OPDDIC paramilitaries, who have a base in nearby Agua Azul.
The 32 Zapatista families of Bolon Ajaw, part of autonomous municipality Comandanta Ramona, live close to beautiful waterfalls. These falls are coveted for tourist developments by government and business interests, who are using OPDDIC as tools to try and rob the Zapatistas of their land.
In contrast to the rich natural resources of Chiapas, the villagers of Bolon Ajaw, like the majority of indigenous villagers in the state, live in real poverty. There is no electricity in the village, and water has to be carried from wells half a mile away.