The repression in Chiapas continues...

Robert Johnson (johnsorl@COLORADO.EDU)
Tue, 28 Feb 1995 01:53:24 -0700

/* Written 8:23 PM Feb 23, 1995 by moonlight in igc:reg.mexico */
/* ---------- "Mex.Military Kills Man (AP wire)" ---------- */
El Paso Herald Post 22/02/95 From La Grandeza,Mexico
The government says Gilberto Jimenez Hernandez was killed in a
shootout with soldiers. His widow says he was shot in the head
as he lay on the ground. The death was only the second confirmed
by authorities since soldiers began their advance into former
Zapatista rebel territory in southern Mexico Feb.10. An army
officer was killed on the first day. Elena Gomez said Tuesday
that she was breastfeeding a daughter and sitting with her
husband under a pine tree when soldiers approached, firing guns
into the air. Soldiers beat Jimenez Hernandez, about 40, and the
couple's son,Manuel Jimenez Gomez,19, and tied them up, the
Tzeltal Indian woman said, speaking through a translator in this
village about 60 miles east of San Cristobal de las Casas. then
as Gomez and another young daughter watched, a soldier shot
Jimenez Hernandez in the eye, she said. The federal Attorney
General's office said that soldiers killed Jimenez Hernandez,
whom the government identified as a rebel, when 4 men attacked
them Monday with large-caliber weapons. Tuesday, an army
helicopter took away Manuel Jimenez Gomez and 2 other men,
identified by villagers as Sebastian Mena Lopez and Ramiro
Alfonso Hernandez.The helicopter also took the body of Jimenez
Hernandez.The dead man's family would not say whether they
support the Zapatistas. But it was unlikely Jimenez Hernandez was
a regular soldier in the rebel army, which disallows men with 3
or more children. The deceased man, who raised corn and coffee
beans on this rocky, windswept terrain, left 12 children.
Meanwhile, the army has moved ever deeper into semi-tropical
valleys like this one where indigenous villagers support the
guerrillas.Most people fled this and a neighboring village high
on a cloud-draped mountain as soldiers advanced.Rosario Mena
Hernandez,20, gathered her 5 children and fled to the forest with
many of the 200 or so people here.Mena, breastfeeding a 5-month-
old son,wept as she described how soldiers had found her on the
mountain and burned a small bag of diapers, children's clothes,
and family documents. Soldiers also entered houses, apparently
searching for weapons.

El Paso Times Feb.23,1995 La Grandeza, Mexico
The government boasts its army has shown great respect for human
rights in Chiapas. But a peasant woman in La Grandeza says she
watched soldiers shoot her unarmed husband and take his body off
in a helicopter. The death in La Grandeza, a mountaintop village
60 miles east of San Cristobal de las Casas, was the second
confirmed by authorities since soldiers started moving into
Zapatista National Liberation Army territory Feb.10. An army
officer was killed the first day. The government has called the
army's movement peaceful, respectful of human rights,and designed
to safeguard the population. Officially, Gilberto Jimenez
Hernandez, about 40, and 3 other men were among 40 heavily-armed
rebels who attacked an army patrol near La Grandeza Monday.
Jimenez was killed when soldiers returned the fire.The 3 others
were flown out by helicopter, along with Jimenez's body.Soldiers
also reported capturing rebel equipment.However, Jimenez's widow
Elena Gomez gave a different version when interviewed by the
Associated Press Tuesday.Gomez was breastfeeding her infant
daughter and sitting with her husband under a pine tree Sunday
morning when soldiers approached,firing into the air,the 35-year-
old Tzeltal Indian woman said through a translator. Soldiers beat
Jimenez and Jimenez Gomez, the couple's 19-year-old son, she
said. Then they tied them up and threw them on the ground,she
said. Then, as Gomez and a young daughter watched, a soldier shot
the elder Jimenez in the eye, she said.Family members would not
say whether the men supported the Zapatistas. It is unlikely
Jimenez was a regular rebel soldier because the Zapatistas don't
take men with 3 or more children. Jimenez,who raised corn and
coffee beans on this rocky, windswept terrain,left 12 children. A
spokeswoman for the National Defense Ministry would not comment
on the discrepancy. President Ernesto Zedillo sent in federal
troops to control the rebellion that started Jan.1,1994, when
Zapatistas demanded better living conditions for Mexico's poor.
At least 145 people died in 12 days of fighting before a cease-
fire was called. The truce had held tenuously until early this
month, as both sides appeared ready for peace talks. Since then,
the army has moved ever deeper into rebel-held territory.
Distraught villagers said soldiers searched their homes for
weapons, and displayed rooms with clothes strewn everywhere.By
Tuesday,at least 100 troops were camped in a field that serves as
the village plaza. Some wandered through the village. Fear of the
soldiers prompted Rosario Mena Hernandez,20, to gather up her 5
children and flee to the forest outside the village.