ricardo dominguez on 6 Aug 2000 20:19:57 -0000

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<nettime> Fw: Paramil. attack EZLN supporters in Tierra y Libertad, Aug 06

>Date: Sun, 06 Aug 2000 04:40:39 -0400
>To: chiapas-l@tierra.ucsd.edu
>From: Cupcaketoo <cupcaketoo@mindspring.com>
>Subject: [Chiapas-L] IPS/ Paramilitaries Attack Rebel Sympathizers
>Sender: chiapas-l-admin@tierra.ucsd.edu
>Politics-Mexico: Paramilitaries Attack Rebel Sympathizers
>MEXICO CITY, (Aug. 4) IPS - Paramilitary forces burned down houses and
>expelled 30 families from a village in Mexico known for its support of the
>Zapatista guerrilla movement, just as President-elect Vicente Fox is trying
>to establish contact with the rebels to set up peace talks.
>Some 300 members of the paramilitary group known as Peace and Justice,
>which human rights organizations say is linked to the governing
>Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), swept through the Tierra y
>Libertad community last night, firing their guns and throwing grenades,
>said local peasants.
>"We are worried by this new act of violence because it increases tensions
>at a time when there are attempts to reactivate the peace dialogue," Fabin
>Snchez, of the Mexican Human Rights Defence Commission, told IPS.
>The paramilitaries attacked the small village in the southern state of
>Chiapas without encountering any resistance, according to reports. The
>residents, most from the Chole indigenous group, fled into the mountains.
>Tierra y Libertad (Land and Liberty) is a community that was founded in an
>isolated area of Chiapas by supporters of the Zapatista National Liberation
>Army (EZLN), after they took up arms in January 1994 to demand recognition
>of indigenous rights.
>Francisco Mayo, a local resident, said the paramilitaries had been
>threatening the village for the last several days.
>If the police do not intervene to allow the Tierra y Libertad townspeople
>to return to their homes, the EZLN grassroots will take back the community
>any way they can, "without regard for the consequences," warned Mayo.
>Paramilitary groups are a reality in Chiapas and act with complete
>impunity, though the Ernesto Zedillo government, which leaves office in
>December, denies it, said rights activist Snchez.
>Human rights organizations accuse the Peace and Justice force of several
>massacres in Chiapas and of ongoing threats against Zapatista sympathizers.
>In this southern state bordering Guatemala, there are 12 paramilitary
>groups that receive training and support from the Mexican army and police
>forces, according to charges by the center-left Democratic Revolutionary
>Party (PRD).
>This latest violent incident, which follows a series of attacks in June,
>when seven police officers and three civilians died -- and which remain
>unsolved -- may prove a difficult obstacle for Fox's advisers as they seek
>to establish contact with EZLN commanders.
>Fox, who is to be inaugurated as president in December, is attempting to
>approach the rebels now in order to lay the groundwork to reinitiate the
>peace talks that were suspended in 1996.
>The negotiations were called off after the Zedillo government withdrew its
>support for a bill before Congress that would provide legal recognition for
>indigenous rights and culture, as outlined in the San Andrs Accords signed
>by the government and the rebels.
>Fox has said he wants to meet personally with the EZLN leader known as
>sub-commander Marcos in order to find a rapid way out of the conflict. But
>so far the president-elect's attempts to communicate with the commander
>have not received a response.
>Marcos has maintained silence since before the July 2 presidential
>elections, in which the PRI lost the presidency for the first time in 71
>In earlier statements, the guerrilla leader had said the EZLN is ready to
>return to the negotiating table, as long as the current or future president
>complies with the terms of the San Andrs Accords, withdraws the tens of
>thousands of military troops from Chiapas and arrests the paramilitaries.
>Human rights organizations say the Zedillo government has been conducting a
>low-intensity war against the Zapatistas that includes covert support for
>the paramilitaries and the extensive militarization of Chiapas.
>The EZLN force, which observers estimate at fewer than 5,000 combatants who
>are poorly armed, continues its ceasefire, but is surrounded by thousands
>of government troops.
>Zedillo accused the rebels of shunning dialogue, but maintained that
>despite their refusal, "there is fundamentally social peace" in Chiapas.
>There is no social peace or justice in Chiapas, and to say otherwise is to
>lie, according to a statement by the humanitarian group Fray Bartolom de
>las Casas, headed by former bishop of Chiapas, Samuel Ruiz.
>On Aug. 20, Chiapas will hold elections for state government. The PRI's
>opposition, a range of parties that have signed an agreement to put forward
>a single candidate, says that "war or peace" is in the balance.
>Copyright (c) IPS-Inter Press Service.
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