ricardo dominguez on Tue, 17 Aug 1999 18:46:00 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Mexican Army Captures Zapatista Town

Originally published in Spanish by La Jornada
Translated by irlandesa

La Jornada
Sunday, August 15, 1999.

The Military Presence Grows in Area of Zapatista Influence,
        Marcos: At Our Backs, New Military Position

Elio Henriquez, correspondent.
La Realidad, Chiapas
August 14.

Subcomandante Marcos reported that between 400 and 500 heavily armed
Mexican Army soldiers - of which 300 came down in parachutes - "captured"
the town of Amador Hernandez, located just at the entrance to the Montes

Azules biosphere reserve, close to this area, where the rebel leadership
lives.  This means, he said, "a new military position at our backs." 

Simultaneously today, military overflights increased, as did checkpoints

and patrols along the stretch of highway from Guadalupe Tepeyac and San
Quintin, along whose length is this community of La Realidad, where the
National Encuentro in Defense of the Cultural Heritage has been being held
since last Thursday. 

During impromptu statements and private meetings with participants in the
encuentro, Marcos explained that, above the Amador Hernandez valley -
which is a two hour drive, or six hours on foot, from here - sits the oil
reserve, "the largest in the world, and, even though the Mexican
government hasn't made it public, the North American government already

"The war the Mexican government is carrying out against us has as its
objective this oil stratum, as well as the oilfields in the sierra of
Corralchen, in the Montes Azules reserve, and in the sierra of Santa
Cruz," the guerrilla leader said to a group of persons attending the
encuentro, who formed a 30 person committee that left this morning for
Amador Hernandez, in order to learn about the situation in greater detail. 

The Subcomandante noted that last Thursday - the day the encuentro opened
with 400 persons gathered here - "A column of approximately 100 soldiers
set off towards the Amador Hernandez community, and the EZLN support base
companeros, along with members of the ARIC Independent and Democratic -
went out to tell them to leave, that they didn't want them there." 

In response, he went on, yesterday, Friday, "throughout the entire morning
and on (18 hours) air transportation troops were landing.  Troops
numbering between approximately 400 and 500 are capturing the Amador
Hernandez town, and, as you know, a new position, now at our backs." 

The working tables of the meeting had been going on normally, but
suddenly, in the afternoon, Marcos arrived at the Aguascalientes in order
to announce to the participants what had been happening in Amador
Hernandez.  At that moment, Comandante Tacho appeared at the ejidal house
there, where some reporters were gathered, in order to invite them to go
and listen to the

Subcomandante, who was getting ready to finish up. 

At the end, he responded to a reporter's question, and went into detail,
reporting that the military troops came into Amador Hernandez in 14
helicopters from the barracks located at San Quintin e Ibarra.  "  At this
very moment, they are digging in and putting up barbed wire around the
position they've occupied," he went on, and then left. 

That same night, a committee of 30 persons was formed - including actress
Ofelia Medina, with whom the Sup met at least twice last night and early
this morning - that will leave early today for Amador Hernandez, where
they plan to set up a civil observation camp.  There are plans for another
group to visit tomorrow, in order to reinforce the initiative. 

Marcos appeared worried while making the denuncia, and he had even
increased his guards from the night before, when he had come out to
participate in the opening of the encuentro.  The atmosphere felt tense. 

The guerrilla leader remained mounted on his horse, under a ceiba next to
the river, pensive and surrounded by some 12 armed horsemen, while the
members of the observation committee arrived.  "Don't come close, move
back," he asked the reporters several times. 

After the brief meeting, when it was already growing dark, he and all his
guards got back on their horses once more, and, under heavy rains, they
disappeared into the mountains. 

During his talk with members of the observation committee, the rebel chief
reiterated that this, and other actions by the Army over the last few days
"are a new retaliation by the government for the support we are giving the
student movement (of the National Autonomous University of Mexico), and,
it is evidently a response to your being here." 

Residents of La Realidad reported that the number of military vehicles
crossing through this community has doubled since last week.  Yesterday
and today, for example, almost 25 units passed through, going and coming. 

Similarly, a helicopter was making several flights, at low altitude, over
this location, and an airplane, also military, passed by several times.
And, between yesterday and today, two new checkpoints were set up on the

highway that connects Las Margaritas with La Realidad, "in order to
enforce the General Firearms and Explosives Law." 

Meanwhile, the working tables of the encuentro will continue their work
today, and the closing ceremony is scheduled for 8 PM.  The participants,
however, had planned to leave this Sunday morning. 

The participants at the meeting repudiated "the militarist strategy of the
Mexican government, that is invading the town of Amador Hernandez." 

In a communique, they said:  "By responding militarily to the actions by
the EZLN, who have openly declared their support for the university
strike, for the struggle for the defense of the electric industry and
their opposiiton to the privatization of the cultural heritage, Ernesto
Zedillo's government is once again putting at risk the fragile peace in
our country, by taking up positions in a strategic area of the most
important oil reserve in Mexico and in the world." 

At the same time they called on civil society to "support and give
continuity" to the observation camp that is being set up at Amador

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