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<nettime> S.O.S. CHIAPAS

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa

Fax by way of Humanitarian Law Project (HLP)<hlp@igc.org>
August 22, 1999 15:49

Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee -
General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

August 22, 1999.

To the People of Mexico
To the Peoples and Governments of the World:


Today, during the early morning hours, August 22, 1999, Federal Army
troops, public security police and PRI paramilitaries cut off the access 
road to the community of La Realidad. 

The road blockade is by the town of El Momon, San Jose, El Eden, Ojo de
Agua, Santa Ana, where they have opened ruts, they have knocked down
trees, they have collected large rocks. 

The paramilitaries are guarding the blockade, preventing everyone's

It is expected that the community of La Realidad will be attacked at any
moment, the last report we received from Subcomandante Marcos, this
morning, reported an intense military, land and air mobilization near the
Aguascalientes of La Realidad. 

The war continues. 

That is all.

Liberty and

For the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee -
General Command of the
Zapatista Army of National Liberation

Comandantes David,  Moises, Daniel, Felipe, Rafael


Rights-Mexico: Army Tightens Noose around Ezln
By Diego Cevallos

MEXICO CITY, (Aug. 17) IPS -

The poorly-armed and outnumbered Zapatista guerrillas will not stand a
chance if the army is ordered to tack, say analysts in Mexico. 

Tens of thousands of soldiers have been staked out in the southern state
of Chiapas, despite protests by politicians of all stripes and both local
and international rights groups. 

In a new massive deployment defended as "normal and necessary" by the
government but termed an "invasion" by the Zapatista National Liberation

Army (EZLN) and its supporters, hundreds of soldiers occupied new
positions over the past few days in the impoverished state of Chiapas,
including the"Reserva de Montes Azules." 

The nature reserve, where peasant farmers loyal to the rebels had taken
refuge, was the only major area that the military had not yet penetrated. 

The government refuses to reveal how many troops are presently stationed
in Chiapas, a poverty-ridden state with a mainly indigenous population
located along the border with Guatemala. 

But human rights groups and politicians put the number at over 50,000,
eight times more than the number of EZLN rebels, many of whom are armed
with low-calibre rifles or simply machetes. 

The government of Ernesto Zedillo said the latest deployment of troops was
in line with its aim to defend the construction of a route towards peace,
guarantee security and fight drug trafficking. 

The army has moved into 161 areas of Chiapas, while police are stationed
in 57, National Migration Institute agents in 24 and Attorney-General's
Office personnel in 13, according to the non-governmental Center for
Economic Research and Community Action Policies. 

All of the sites are strategic from a military point of view, and were
chosen as part of the government's bid to encircle the EZLN, the Center

But Emilio Rabasa, the government's coordinator of the dialogue in
Chiapas, told the radio newscast Red yesterday that the government was not
seeking to provoke or attack the Zapatistas. He also reiterated the
Zedillo administration's call for a renewal of the peace talks, suspended
since 1996. 

However, the latest deployment of troops put the soldiers "at our backs,"
said 'Subcomandante Marcos', the charismatic leader of Mexico's largest
guerrilla group. He maintained that the government's aim was to crack down
on the EZLN and guarantee future oil exploitation in the region, which has
significant reserves. 

Deputy Gilberto Rivas, a parliamentary deputy of the center-left
Democratic Revolution Party and a member of the congressional peace
commission, also protested the continued militarisation of Chiapas. 

"We cannot be accomplices or remain impassive to the new movements of
troops, which highlight the real intention of the federal government to
tighten the noose around the EZLN," said Rivas. "Congress must act fast,

because it is now impossible for the Zapatistas to retreat any further." 

Backed up against the Guatemalan border, the 5,000 members of the EZLN
have not fired a single shot since mid-January 1994, when the government
agreed to peace talks after 12 days of skirmishes between the rebels and
the army. 

While the talks continued and were later suspended, the army gradually but
steadily increased its presence in Chiapas, "until leaving us with one
foot in Guatemala and the other in Mexico,"  Marcos joked a few months

Although there have been no direct clashes between the army and the
insurgents, violence in the region, attributed to paramilitary units and
religious and political differences, is a permanent fact of life. 

At least 1,500 indigenous opponents of the government have been killed in
Chiapas by paramilitary groups since 1994, states a report drawn up by the
PRD and submitted to the Attorney-General's Office last April. 

The latest "military aggression against rebel communities was to remind
everyone that there is a war going on in Chiapas, with a people in
resistance and an occupying army," Marcos said over the weekend. 

The government line is that the guerrillas do not want peace and are
avoiding talks, while the EZLN maintains that it is the government which
has been lying and pursuing its adversaries while failing to live up to
its commitments. 

The talks were broken off after the government refused to accept a draft
law on indigenous rights drawn up by the congressional peace commission,
based on the San Andres Accords signed by the EZLN and the Zedillo

The government submitted an alternative draft law, arguing that the
original bill -- drafted by deputies of the various parties, including the
governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and accepted by the
rebels - granted excessive autonomy to the country's indigenous
communities (which account for around 10 of Mexico's nearly 100 million
inhabitants)  and jeopardized the unity of the country. 

While the militarisation of Chiapas continues apace and a renewal of the
talks looks impossible before the end of Zedillo's six-year term in late
2000, the EZLN has been fielding political initiatives from its jungle
hideout, seeking to unify civil society opposed to the government and
propose policy changes, while denouncing injustices in Chiapas. 

The government, meanwhile, in the words of the president, has "infinite
patience" in its search for a peaceful solution to the conflict, and
swears that it would never attack the guerrillas. 

Date:   Sunday, August 22, 1999 14:00:35 -0600
From:   gozuna@laneta.apc.org

[I would like to emphasize the extraordinary importance of the following
denuncia, following, as it does, on the heels of the remarks and actions
by the current interim governor of the state of Chiapas, Roberto Albores
Guillen.  It should be recalled that last week Albores Guillen visited San
Quintin, near the town of Amador ernandez, which had just been taken over
in a massive military and mixed force operation.  During that visit,
Albores Guillen made radio broadcasts in which he taunted the zapatistas
and vowed to show them, saying he was "willing to assume the risks."  He
also called on the people of Chiapas to "take to the squares" to
demonstrate their unwillingness to tolerate the "outsiders." The roadblock
at Nuevo Momon was immediately set up by PRI's there, and this was widely
reported in the press at the time - irlandesa]


August 22, 1999
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico

On August 21, at 11PM (daylight savings time), at the Nuevo Momon
crossroads, municipality of Las Margaritas, a three-ton truck, travelling
from the community of La Realidad to Las Margaritas, was intercepted by a
group of PRI's and paramilitaries.  Travelling in this truck were:  the
truck driver, along with his wife, two international observers and a
Mexican doctor who is a member of ENLACE CIVIL A.C. 

This interception occurred at 11 PM at the Nuevo Momon crossroads by a
group of 150 i ndigenous persons, who said they were PRIs from the
communities around Nuevo Momon. 

The driver got down from the truck in order t o find out what was going
on.  The answer by the PRIs was:  they were not going to allow them to
travel. They immediately opened the lower part of the truck, and, when the
PRIs saw the two international observers, they pulled them out violently. 
And, along with the doctor who was riding in the front of the truck, they
began insulting them and saying that "the foreigners were the ones

for the current situation in Chiapas, that they were the teachers who were
coming to teach the zapatistas, and they were the reason things were going
badly."  At the same time they warned them that they would not be leaving
until the PRIs decided whether they were leaving or staying. 

The two international observers and t he doctor told those persons they
wanted to go, and if they prevented them from going, it would mean a
kidnapping, by depriving them of their l iberty and making them stay there
against their will.  To which the PRIs responded that, if they really
wanted to know what a kidnapping was, they would tie them up and take them
to the community of Eden (a PRI community).  All the people at the
blockade began insulting them and threatening them with the machetes they
were carrying.  They said it was they who were giving the orders, and not
the foreigners, that they didn't want people who had anything to do with
the zapatistas.  They began to get more upset, and said they were going to
make them come and work with them if they kept on asking when they were
going to release them. 

A few minutes later, a mestizo-looking person appeared, who began asking
the names of the persons who were detained there.  The observers and the
doctor refused to give him their information, and they said they would not
give him their information until he identified himself.  In addition, the
observers and the doctor had already presented their identification at the
federal army checkpoint in the community of Vicente Guerrero (a half hour
away from Nuevo Momon, and where they had been held for more time than had
been necessary for them to just take down their names.  Because of this,
they had been afraid that this action was in order to inform the people at
Nuevo Momon, so they would be waiting for them).  Once more the observers
and the doctor asked that they be let go, because this was against the
law.  To which they responded that "the autonomy of the PRI towns is above
the federal government." 

The doctor asked them to let her get a sweater, because it was very cold.
They said no, she would have to suffer like they were. 

The men blocking the way continued to insult, to assault and to threaten
them.  They also told them that if they were in Chiapas, they would have
to suffer the consequences, and they should know what risks they were
taking by being in a place where there was a problem between PRIs and

And that they should remember 1994, and now the PRIs were going to kill
the zapatistas one by one.  That the foreigners should get out, as well as
everyone who had come from outside. 

An hour went by, and the two international observers, the doctor, the
driver and his wife remained kidnapped, insulted and assaulted by the

They asked them to release them, to which they once again responded that,
if they wanted to go they would have to go on foot, but that, further on,
they would be detained by another group of them and they would beat them
up.  The threats to tie them up and to take them to Eden continued. They
showed them ropes and machetes in order to intimidate them. 

During this entire time that they were held kidnapped, a group of
approximately 50 PRI persons, with chainsaws, axes and shovels, were
cutting down trees in order to block the road, and they were also
collecting rocks.  When they had finished blocking the road, a person from
the group came towards the observers and the doctor, and he told them they
were going to continue working and they could go now.  But first they
would have to search their belongings, and, if they felt they could keep
their things, they would.  The PRIs took down the bags, and they took a
camera, two books, nine rolls of ilm and money.  When asked to return
their belongings, the PRIs began to physically assault the observers and
the doctor. 

There were 5 PRI persons under the truck, and that was when the doctor was
pulled down on her knees, and they dragged her for more than 30 feet. 
They held her feet and hands, keeping her immobilized while they beat her
up with their fists and kicked her and pulled her hair. 

They tried to take off her clothes, and one of the PRIs tried to put his
fingers in her vagina through her clothing.  At that point, they began
beating one of the international observers, throwing him to the ground and
dragging him by the hair for at least 30 feet.  They kicked him all over
his body.  They also beat up the other observer with their fists and
kicked her.  The beatings lasted for approximately 15 minutes. 

They stopped beating them, and they returned some of their belongings to
them, except for the above mentioned items.  They threatened them, telling
them to leave and to not come back.  They were able to get back into the
truck.  They threatened to kill the driver if they saw him in the area
again, and said they would kill the two international persons ("the two

Barely 150 feet from where the observers, the doctor, the driver and his
wife had been kidnapped and beaten, the truck was intercepted again by
another group of five persons, wearing federal army uniforms and asking
for identification from the persons in the truck.  The observers and the
doctors answered them that their belongings had been robbed 150 feet from
there, and they didn't have any identification.  The soldiers had no
response to that.  It is important to emphasize that, when there are
federal army checkpoints, there are signs on the road saying "HALT AT X
However, there were no signs of any kind there.  Fifteen feet from where
they were, those federal soldiers met with a group of 10 civilians, and
sixty feet away there was a private vehicle, a pickup truck, that was
blocking the way.  The federal soldiers warned the driver of the truck not
to stop along the road until they reached Las Margaritas, because the
entire road was under surveillance and they could be shot at.  They let
them through. 

Today, August 22, 1999, is the medical part of the physical and
psychological injuries of the victims.  The international observers and
the doctor, as well as the driver and his wife, were conscious and
oriented as to time, place and person, with a high level of adrenal


1.  First and second degree abrasive injuries are
observed to the costal area, superior and inferior extremities.
2.  Contusions
3.  Hematomas
4.  Bruising
5.  Regions painful to light palpation
No life threatening injuries or injuries to the functioning of vital
were found.
6.  The psychological trauma is irreversible and permanent.

We are making this denuncia of the attacks to which Mexicans and
international observers are being subjected within the state of Chiapas,
holding responsible for all the attacks: the President of the Republic,
Ernesto Zedillo, the Secretary of Government, Diodoro Carrasco, and
Roberto Albores Guillen. 

And we are holding them responsible for the physical, moral and
psychological safety of all the residents of the communities of Chiapas,
as well as of all national and foreign observers who are in Mexican

We demand the immediate withdrawal of the blockades being maintained by
the PRIs and paramilitaries on the orders of the Governor of the State and
of the Department of Government, as well as the immediate withdrawal of
all federal army troops who are remaining in the communities of the state







by irlandesa

August 21, 1999


Amador Hernandez, the small town in the municipality of Ocosingo, where
residents - zapatista sympathizers and ARIC-Independent members - continue
to face hundreds of Mexican Army police, paratroopers, as well as
numberless and varied other state and federal security and intelligence


        The second group of students (mostly from two Anthropology schools
in Mexico City), who arrived in Amador from La Realidad) returned to La
Realidad last night.  Safely, one hopes.  Another group of students was on
its way today from Mexico City, in order to join in support of residents
of Amador. 
        The state government set up various heavily manned control points
on the road leading from Mexico City to Tuxtla Gutierrez, as well as on
other roads, in order to waylay said students.  Preemptive repression, one
might say. 
        The very scary and profoundly certifiable "Authentic Coletos," who
sit on the San Cristobal de Las Casas city council, issued an amazing
order, declaring actress Ofelia Medina (who has been in Amador, in support
of residents) "persona non grata," and, I swear, giving her "72 hours to
get out of town."  Or else, I swear, "we will throw her out."  Lunatic
        Governor Roberto Albores' over-the-top antics from the day before
precipitated a very unusual display of public chastisement from the often
over-the-top himself coordinator for peace in Chiapas, Emilio Rabasa
Gamboa.  He took Albores to severe task, urging prudence [yes] and
basically trying to lock the barn door.  Repression biting the hand that
feeds it. 


        And, finally, there has been a flurry of good work coming to light
on one of the pivotal background issues to this flashpoint:  the story
that lies within, about and above the region where Amador Hernandez
sits.Oil.  And lots of it.  Subcomandante Marcos, of the Comandancia
General of the EZLN, reminded us of it last week in a presentation at the
National Encuentro in Defense of the Cultural Heritage, called by the EZLN
and held in La Realidad. 

La Jornada ran a front page article on the subject today, and there have
been a plethora of articles on the Chiapas lists over the few days. 

        One assumes there will be much more.  More tomorrow. 


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