4 Zapatistas Shot

[translated by irlandesa]


Today, August 19, 2002, at 6:30 in the morning, 22 vehicles (trucks, microbuses and Nissan vans) which were coming from Taniperla, Monte Líbano, Perla Acapulco and Peña Limonar, stopped in the village of Nuevo Guadalupe, at the Quexil crossroads, where there is a checkpoint set up by zapatista bases in order to control trafficking in lumber, alcohol and stolen vehicles.


A few days previously, the compañeros at this checkpoint had stopped a truck loaded with precious woods that was heading towards Ocosingo.


The people who arrived in the 22 vehicles began throwing rocks at the sign at the Quexil crossroads, which has a picture of Zapata and Sub Marcos and which indicates that it is a Rebel Autonomous Municipality.  There is also a sign which proclaims that trafficking in alcohol, precious woods and stolen vehicles is prohibited.  One of the persons, who is the leader of the paramilitary group, got out of one of the vehicles and headed towards zapatista authority compañero, Marcos Mendez Sanchez, where, with help from several paramilitaries, Marcos Méndez was detained.  Two other support base compañeros, Felipe Gómez Sánchez and Rigoberto Sánchez, were also detained by the paramilitaries.  Two other support base compañeros were able to escape, and they went to ask for help from other compañeros.  They returned after a while, and they tried to talk with the paramilitaries, in order to see if they could sort out the problem which had brought them there.  Their response was to begin throwing rocks that they were already carrying in the trucks which had arrived at the crossroads in the morning, and they began loading the wood which had been requisitioned for the zapatista checkpoint a few days earlier.  In addition to attacking with rocks, the paramilitaries began attacking with machetes and firing pistols and rifles.


The three compañeros had already been put in a truck to be taken away.  Two of them were able to get out and escape, but Rigoberto Sánchez Gómez was unable to get out, and he was taken away to an unknown destination.  Marcos Méndez Sánchez, who had been able to get out of the truck, received a gunshot wound in the stomach with a 22 caliber weapon, and he is in serious condition.  Compañero Felipe Gómez Sánchez received two gunshots, one in his back and one in his shoulder, and he is in serious condition.  Juan Méndez Sánchez was shot in the back while trying to help his compañeros.  Francisco Méndez Vázquez was shot in the foot and hit in the head with several rocks.


Two support base compañeros managed to take a machete away from a paramilitary leader, who received several blows to the head and knee.  This leader managed to escape when another paramilitary came to help him with a pistol in his hand.  The paramilitaries entered the house of compañero Marcos Méndez Sánchez, and they robbed him of various belongings.  They hit an elderly zapatista compañero, and they also kicked Marcos Méndez’ daughter, Irma Méndez Gómez, who is 11 years old.  Several trucks tried to run over zapatista support base women who were defending their compañeros when they were being attacked.  Moments later, all the paramilitary attackers fled in their trucks and vehicles, headed towards Ocosingo, where they are currently positioned in the central park.


A few hours later, this Autonomous Municipality was able to verify that compañero Rigoberto Sánchez Gómez had been taken to the city of Ocosingo.  During the trip, they stopped at the San Miguel ranchería.  The compañero’s eyes were blindfolded, and he was struck on several occasions.  They threatened to burn him alive with gasoline.  They took off his shoes.  Afterwards, they took him to the State Prosecutor’s Office, in Ocosingo, where he was interrogated.  Then he was transferred to the public jail, and there his belt and 20 pesos which he was carrying in his wallet were taken away from him.  Afterwards, they took him back to the Prosecutor’s Office, where his photograph was taken.


We know – through compañeros who were at the Prosecutor’s Office at the time they were interrogating our compañero Rigoberto Sánchez Gómez – that also present in the Prosecutor’s Office were Juan José Gómez, Isidro Gómez Encino, Luis Carrea Guajardo, Pedro Chulín (OPDIC) and Omar Burguete, the municipal president of Ocosingo.  The latter two then went to San Cristóbal de las Casas, presumably to meet with the governor of the state, Pablo Salazar Mendiguchía.


This Autonomous Municipality denounces that these two hundred people who arrived at the Quexil crossroads belong to the OPDIC organization.  That organization is carrying out attacks in different Autonomous Municipalities.  We are holding the state government responsible, because the leaders of this paramilitary group are quite well known, with some of them, like Pedro Chulín, holding public office.


The federal and state governments want to continue to provoke confrontations and to weaken the resistance of the Autonomous Municipalities in resistance.  They are presenting these attacks as disputes over land or conflicts between indigenous, but it is the federal and state authorities who are directly helping these paramilitaries.


We declare that we shall continue in rebellion against the bad government, and we are calling on national and international civil society to remain alert for other possible attacks against the Autonomous Municipalities, in order to mobilize in support of our just struggle.

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