San CristÃ³bal de Las Casas, Chiapas
August 21, 2002.
To National and International Civil Society.
To the National Indigenous Congress.
To Non-Governmental Human Rights Organizations.
To the National and International Press.
The following is an URGENT call in order to demonstrate the worsening of tension in the state of Chiapas. The various conflicts which have been systematically breaking out against EZLN support bases and Autonomous Municipalities, and which are clearly part of a predetermined pattern, have led us to emphatically denounce that the Low Intensity War – which is being orchestrated by the state and federal governments – is posing a grave danger to peace in our state and in all of Mexico.
Looking at the latest events in their broad context, and analyzing the active role being taken by paramilitary groups in those events, is sufficient for demonstrating the above:
1. July 31, in La Culebra ejido, Ricardo Flores MagÃ³n Autonomous Municipality. Paramilitary attack against seven EZLN Support Bases, leaving several zapatistas wounded. The attackers were 40 men who were carrying handguns and machetes from the community of San Antonio Escobar and who belong to the PRI OPDIC organization, which was founded by current local PRI Deputy Pedro ChulÃn, who is better known as the head of the MIRA paramilitary group.
2. August 7, in the 6 de Agosto new town center, 17 de Noviembre Autonomous Municipality. Assassination of zapatista JosÃ© LÃ³pez Santiz, with eight shots from a 16 caliber shotgun, by Baltasar Alfonso Utrilla, BenjamÃn Montoya Oceguera and Humberto Castellanos, who are currently fugitives. The latter, who is a multi-party councilor in Altamirano, also threatened to kill the victim’s children, who are 10 and 11 years old. As denounced at the time, this crime was clearly covered up on the direct orders of a Public Ministry agent and by the municipal president of Altamirano, Armando Pinto Kanter, who engaged in a series of illegal acts for the purpose of allowing this cowardly act to go unpunished.
3. August 10, in the community of Palestina in the Ricardo Flores MagÃ³n Autonomous Municipality. Illegal detention of zapatista JerÃ³nimo GÃ³mez Moreno, from the Chamizal ejido, by the Palestina Auxiliary Agent, who took him to the San Antonio Escobar community jail. There he was told by the agent and the police commander that he was being detained for being a Zapatista Support Base, on the request of Julio GÃ³mez LÃ³pez, the ejidal Commissioner of the latter community and leader of the paramilitaries who are operating in that area with the official support of the police stationed in Palestina. The illegally detained person managed to escape, and both he and his family are currently receiving threats.
4. August 18, in the predio where the Majomut sand bank is located, belonging to the San Pedro PolhÃ³ Autonomous Municipality. Physical attack, death threat and unfounded accusation against zapatista Mariano PÃ©rez GÃ³mez by 30 PRI and Cardenista affiliated persons, headed by Antonio PÃ©rez Santiz, Mariano HernÃ¡ndez PÃ©rez, Gilberto GÃ³mez PÃ©rez and Pedro Mariano Arias PÃ©rez. The latter is the president of the Community Property Commission of the municipality of ChenalhÃ³. These four persons have been clearly identified as being in charge of organizing paramilitary groups, with an agreement with the municipal president of ChenalhÃ³, Armando VÃ¡zquez PÃ©rez.
5. August 19, at the Quexil crossroads in the town of Nuevo Guadalupe. San Manuel Autonomous Municipality. More than 200 persons from the above-mentioned paramilitary organization OPDIC, who were in 22 vehicles and coming from Taniperla, Monte LÃbano, Perla de Acapulco and PeÃ±a Limonar, attacked EZLN support bases with pistols, rifles, machetes and rocks. In addition to thefts from houses and several persons with minor wounds, this attack left four zapatistas seriously wounded by gunshot: Marcos MÃ©ndez SÃ¡nchez, with one gunshot from a 22 caliber weapon in the stomach; Felipe GÃ³mez SÃ¡nchez, with one gunshot to the shoulder and another in the back; Juan MÃ©ndez SÃ¡nchez, one shot in the arm; Francisco MÃ©ndez VÃ¡zquez, one shot in the foot and various injuries to his head. During this action, three zapatistas were also kidnapped, two of whom managed to escape, and the other was beaten, arbitrarily detained and taken to the State Prosecutor’s Office in Ocosingo, where he was interrogated, then transferred to the public jail, and, lastly, taken to the Prosecutor’s Office again.
The above-mentioned incidents, added to the increase in military troops and the transporting of explosive materials inside the conflict zone, as well as other actions which have been taking place in recent months, are a clear signal for alarm and for calling on national and international Civil Society to mobilize in repudiation of these acts and to DEMAND JUSTICE.
We are holding the federal and state governments directly responsible, in the persons of Vicente Fox Quesada and Pablo Salazar MendiguchÃa respectively, for this climate of violence and impunity which continues to harbor the paramilitary groups which exist in the state of Chiapas, through their false “reconciliation policies” and without serving justice,
WITHOUT JUSTICE THERE IS NO DEMOCRACY!!!
RESPECT FOR THE AUTONOMOUS MUNICIPALITIES!!!
LEGAL PUNISHMENT FOR PARAMILITARY GROUPS AND GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS WHO SPONSOR THEM!!!
CAPISE, A.C. (Center for Political Analysis and Social and Economic Research)
CDHFBC (Fray BartolomÃ© de las Casas Human Rights Center)
CIEPAC (Center for Economic and Political Research for Community Action)
Regional Coordinators of Chiapas for Civil Society in Resistance of: Los Altos, North-Selva, MarquÃ©s de Comillas, Border, Coast, Center and TacanÃ¡ Border
Enlace Civil, A.C.
Jolom Mayaetik, S.C.
K’inal Antzetik, A.C.
Network of Community Human Rights Defenders
Urgent Call for Solidarity
San CristÃ³bal de Las Casas, Chiapas