Int'l group: Deaths, Guatamalan sol (fwd)

Cliff Sloane (cesloane@MAROON.TC.UMN.EDU)
Sat, 11 Mar 1995 19:07:53 -0600

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Date: Fri, 10 Mar 1995 23:51:10 -0500
From: Victor O. Story <>
To: Multiple recipients of list THRDWRLD <THRDWRLD@GSUVM1.BITNET>
Subject: Int'l group: Deaths, Guatamalan sol (fwd)

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Date: Fri, 10 Mar 1995 18:45:15 -0800
From: National Commission for Democracy in Mexico <>
Subject: Int'l group: Deaths, Guatamalan sol

/* Written 6:44 PM Mar 10, 1995 by moonlight in igc:reg.mexico */
/* ---------- "Int'l group: Deaths, Guatamalan sol" ---------- */
Jornada March 10 pg. 22

*Report the death of a woman and four children*

*There are no conditions for dialogue in Chiapas, says the
Civil Mission*

*According to campesinos, Guatamalan soldiers are entering

Jose Gil Olmos, correspondent, and Elio Henriquez,
correspondent, San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, March 9

Returning from a tour of the conflict zone, the Civil
Mission of Information reported the death of a pregnant
woman and four children from the communities around Las
Margaritas, who fled a month ago before the invasion of the
Mexican Army. According to reports from the indigenous
people themselves, "Guatamalan soldiers" dressed in Mexican
military uniforms crossed the border and went towards the
Lacandon jungle in search of Zapatista leaders.

In a press conference a group from the Mission, composed of
63 academicians, artists, and non-governmental
organizations, and which divided up into groups to cover
several areas around Ocosingo, Altamirano, and Las
Margaritas, stated that there were no conditions for
dialogue due to the high level of militarization and the
virtual war.

The heterogeneous group announced that it would be
presenting a report to the president of the republic and a
packet of petitions, seeking the creation of broad zones of
reduced tension, the withdrawl of the Mexican Army troops so
that the refugees can return to their communities; the
urgent reestablishment of the dialogue with the EZLN, and
that members of the EZLN cease be treating as criminals.

In the name of the group, the university professor Ana
Esther Ceceno, the artist Pilar Boliver, the speaker Sergio
Zermeno, the academic Alfredo Lopez Austin, and as an
invited guest, Neil Harvey, a professor with New Mexico
State University, presented an evaluation of the
observations of distinct groups during their daylong trip
through the region, which has been occupied by federal
troops since February 10th.

In the press conference which was held in the diocesan
seminary in San Cristobal de las Casas, they explained that
in order to get to the village of Guadalupe Tepeyac, in the
municipality of Las Margaritas, they had to pass through
seven military checkpoints, and to during their trip the
soldiers filmed them the entire time. They were denied
entrance to some homes occupied by the soldiers and in
others they stated that before the villages left, the army
decided to place tanks and light tanks on the patios.

With regard to the Guatamalan soldiers, who, according to
campesinos, had been entering Mexico, a group of reporters
had received this same information from indigenous people
who live in the border village of Ciudad Cuauhtemoc, where,
one campesino said, they were aware of two groups of
Guatamalan troops crossing the border with Mexico, and that
only one joined the Mexican Army's lines.

On this occasion, the indigenous campesino insisted,
concerned, that the information that had been given him
regarding the disguised Guatamalan soldiers were "special
forces", because they had received training in "guerrilla
combat in the jungle".

Regarding the death of four infants and a pregnant woman
from the communities around Las Margaritas, among them
Guadalupe Tepeyac, Neil Harvey was the person who received
the report from indigenous campesinos.

He added that a report of the denunciations that had been
collected during the tour would also be sent to the United
States government.

Sergio Zermeno said that the report that will be given to
the president will inform him that there is a "deliberate
policy directed at accusing Zapatista sympathizers or those
who remain in their places."

Regarding military activity, Zermeno said that it is evident
that it has not been directed at repression or "direct
murder, but rather it has attacked the sources of
reproduction of the life of the villagers". He pointed out
that many communities are being deliberately divided and set
up for confrontations with the "accelerated repopulation" by
means of the displaced people from last year, and with the
support of the authorities.

In his turn the academic Alfredo Lopez Austin, who toured
the municipality of Altamirano, said that the residents of
the communities said that they feel "betrayed" by Zedillo,
as while they prepared for dialogue, they were surprised
with the military offensive.

He stated that after the Army's incursion it will be
difficult for the communities who fled to the jungle and the
mountains to survive "this systematic destruction of their

After other members of the mission emphasized the
"impressive" armed deployment and the pursuit into the
jungle and mountains in search of Zapatista leadership, Ana
Esther Ceceno enumerated the petitions that will be made to
Ernesto Zedillo's government:

To form ample zones of lowered tension; payment of damages
to the residents whose properties the Mexican Army damaged
or destroyed; the withdrawl of the military forces from the
region so that the communities could return; freedom for the
political prisoners; recognition of CONAI; support for the
demands of the indigenous and immediate reestablishment of
the dialogue with the EZLN.

As such the social organizations of the country said to the
members of the mission that they could set up camps in the
conflict region with the goal of preventing the soldiers
from acting with "impunity".

*The law is not a miracle: Ruiz*

Last night at the end of his homily, the bishop and
coordinator of CONAI, Samuel Ruiz Garcia, stated that the
Law for Peace in Chiapas "is not something that will
transform everything...because it does not change the
location of the Army nor all of the circumstances. The law
is not a miracle worker that can carry out a transformation
from one day to the next. We all have to implement it."

Samuel Ruiz Garcia, who tomorrow will travel to Mexico City
to meet with other members of CONAI, is confident that there
will soon be a response from the EZLN regarding the law for
peace in Chiapas.

(translation by Cindy Arnold, volunteer, National Commission
For Democracy in Mexico).