Date: Mon, 5 Jan 1998 13:01:00 -0800

Chiapas massacre focus of Subversity 1/6/98

Irvine -- The recent massacre of 45 people in Chiapas brings renewed attention to the plight of indigenous people in Mexico. "Subversity," a KUCI public affairs, show, kicks off the new Winter season with a show devoted to the Chiapas situation. The show airs Tuesday, January 6, from 5-6 p.m. on KUCI, 88.9 FM in Orange County.

Guests will be Anthony Garcia and Lupe Lopez, from the Chiapas Human Rights Council of Orange County. Both activists attended the Zapatista National Democratic Convention in August, 1994, and are currently organizing support in Southern California for the Chiapas struggle. Show host is Dan Tsang.

To chat with the guests, call (714) 824-KUCI during the show. E-mail: URL: Or call Tsang at (714) 824-4978.

A communique from the Zapatistas follows:

Subject: EZLN Communique in Response to the Massacre in Chenalho

[also found]

>                 Zapatista Army of National Liberation
> December 22, 1997.
> To National and International Civil Society.
> Brothers and Sisters:
>      Why?
>      How many more?
>      Until when?
>              From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
>                   [Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos]
>                        Mexico, December of 1997
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>   Communique from the Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee-
>      General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation
>                                Mexico.
> December 23, 1997.
> To the people of Mexico:
> To the peoples and governments of the world:
> To the national and international press:
> Brothers and Sisters:
> With respect to the massacre of indigenous people in the community of
> Acteal, municipality of San Pedro de Chenalhs, Chiapas, which was
> carried out yesterday, December 22, 1997, the EZLN points out:
> First. According to the information we have received until now, some
> 60 paramilitaries of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (sponsored
> by the federal and state governments) were the ones who attacked the
> displaced refugees in Acteal with high-caliber weapons.
> Second. As a result of the aggression, which lasted as long as four
> hours, at least 45 indigenous people were murdered, of whom 9 were
> men, 21 were women, and 15 were children (one of which was less than a
> year old). In addition to the dead, 7 men (4 of them young boys) and
> 10 women (4 of whom are girls) were wounded.
> Third. According to radio transmissions made by the Government of
> Chiapas (intercepted by the EZLN), in the immediate surroundings of
> Acteal and at the time of the massacre, Public Security police of the
> state of Chiapas backed up the aggression and, later that afternoon
> and evening, dedicated themselves to picking up the bodies in order to
> cover up the magnitude of the killings. Mr. Homero Tovilla Cristiani
> and Mr. Uriel Jarquin (Interior Minister and Deputy Interior Minister,
> respectively, for the state of Chiapas) commissioned the police to
> back up this crime. Mr. Julio Cisar Ruiz Ferro was continuously
> informed of the development of the "operation" (at least as of 12:00
> pm on the 22nd of December, when the killing had already been going on
> for one hour). Approved by the state and federal governments, the
> attack was refined on December 21st in a meeting of paramilitaries
> (directed by Mr. Jacinto Arias, the PRI-backed municipal president)
> from the communities of Los Chorros, Puebla, La Esperanza and Quextic,
> all within the municipality of Chenalhs.
> Fourth. The direct responsibility of these bloody acts falls on
> Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Lesn and the Interior Ministry, who gave a
> green light to the counterinsurgency project presented by the Federal
> Army two years ago.
> The objective of this project is to displace the Zapatista war toward
> a conflict among the indigenous peoples, motivated by religious,
> political, or ethnic differences.
> In order to carry it out, they dedicated themselves to financing
> equipment and armament (with funds from the Department of Social
> Development) and giving military training (directed by officials of
> the Federal Army) to indigenous people recruited by the Institutional
> Revolutionary Party.
> To give these death squads the necessary time to prepare, the Mexican
> federal government designed a parallel strategy of fake dialogue,
> consisting of carrying out negotiations without any intention of
> honoring that which would be agreed upon, while increasing the
> military presence in Zapatista zones.
> The government of the State of Chiapas remained in charge of
> guaranteeing the impunity of the paramilitary groups and of
> facilitating their operation in the main rebel zones: north, jungle,
> and highlands of Chiapas.
> Fifth. In this way, the state and federal governments, the
> Institutional Revolutionary Party and the Federal Army united their
> forces. Their objective was synthesized in the "war cry" of the
> paramilitary group known as "mascara roja": "We are going to wipe out
> the Zapatista seed", in other words, "We are going to eliminate the
> indigenous communities".
> Sixth. As part of his governing style and example of his "will for
> peace", Mr. Ernesto Zedillo sent threats by way of various channels to
> the General Command of the EZLN with the following message: "I would
> rather go down in history as a repressor than honor the accords with
> the EZLN".
> This time he has honored his word.
> Zedillo has now gone down in history as an assassin of indigenous
> people, and he carries the blood of Acteal on his hands.
> Seventh. The prompt attention given to these events by the
> communications media in Chiapas, as well as the just indignation of
> national and international public opinion, have prompted the
> masterminds of the crime to rush to center stage in order to wash
> their hands of it, and to promote "in-depth" investigations. They will
> not punish those responsible; impunity is guaranteed, because those
> investigating the crime are the same ones who planned it. The
> declarations of Mr. Zedillo and his subordinates are therefore nothing
> more than demogogy.
> Eighth. Using the masssacre of Acteal as a motive, the government and
> its spokespersons once again call for a dialogue without mentioning
> their determination to not honor past agreements, with the sole
> purpose of advancing in their counterinsurgency strategy. In this
> sense, the recent and ridiculous declaration of the COCOPA (which
> decided to go on vacation instead of working for peace), regarding the
> events of Acteal, is worthy of attention. The legislators forget that
> it is the government which is murdering children, women, and men; they
> forget that it is the government which is using weapons; they forget
> that it is the government which refuses to undertake a serious
> dialogue. Thus, they should direct their statements to the government
> when they speak of not recurring to violence and of the necessity for
> dialogue.
> Ninth. Once again, the EZLN calls upon national and international
> civil society and to the independent organizations to not be tricked,
> and to demand true justice rather than illusions.
> Tenth. The Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee-General
> Command of the EZLN is at this time completing its investigation and
> analyzing what has happened in order to make the pertinent and
> necessary decisions.
>                               Democracy!
>                                Liberty!
>                                Justice!
>              From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
>                   [Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos]
>     Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee-General Command
>              of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
>                         Mexico, December 1997.