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(en) Mexico, Chiapas Government to continue dislocations About 500 evicted last Friday in Suchiate; at least 60 arrested

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 29 Jan 2004 09:18:45 +0100 (CET)

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From: tbayiww-A-resist.ca by Hermann Bellinhausen La Journada, 25th of January, 2004
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, 24th of January. The high season for
the eviction of campesinos has begun. The government of Chiapas has
resolved to persecute land invasions, even those going back as far as 11
years, as happened yesterday in the estates Los Cerros and Los Cerritos in
Suchiate, near the border with Guatemala. The lands were returned to their
legal owners, that is the real estate company Las Cruces and the private
persons Guadalupe Barrios, Arturo Barrios and Roberto Ocampo.
Once again the persecuted belong to the Proletarian Organization Emiliano
Zapata (OPEZ). In this case to the historical fraction. On January 12th
occured the eviction of the estate Huasteca, municipality of Trinitaria,
where tens on families of a dissident group of the OPEZ lived; on that
occasion the historical OPEZ sided with the state police, and their
victims accused the "Historicals" of paramilitarism. This police operation
claimed almost 20 wounded who arrived at the hospital, and initially 80
prisoners, all members of the OPEZ fractions Lucio Cabañas and Ernesto Che

In Suchiate, the expelled from Friday numbered 450, and 60 prisoners. On
the previous day, in Rancho Alegre, also Suchiate, 160 families of the
OPEZ were evicted. The Secretary of Government, Rubén Velázquez López, the
author of this escalation, declared yesterday that "this government will
allow no more invasions", but he pointed out, "it will excel in
guaranteeing that human rights are respected" during the evictions.

How good that the sectorial and judicial police "excelled", who knows how
many more wounded and burned houses there might have been otherwise. In
Nuevo San Rafael, in Montes Azules alone, police and navy forces burned
down 23 houses yesterday, dispersed the population (Choles from Sabanilla)
and detained at least one Josué Jiménez Cruz, a representative of the
settlers. This eviction (that the Office of Federal Attorney for
Environmental Protection describes as "voluntary") contradicts the
declarations of the government of Chiapas and the new federal
environmental authorities in the sense that there would be no evictions in
Montes Azules.

The present Secretary of Government of Chiapas has always been in favor of
evictions in Montes Azules, ever since he was the state official in charge
of agrarian policy and represented governor Pablo Salazar Mendiguchía in
the so called Grupo Chiapas. In 2001 and 2002 he identified himself with
the hard line in environmental matters. Now, as the official in charge of
domestic affairs in Chiapas (whatever that means), Velázquez begins to
court and please the proprietors, the military commanders and the federal
authorities who want a heavy hand.

There are limits to keep, of course, and he laments them: "The invasions
located in the zapatista zone, where not even the federal government has
managed to return the lands invaded in 1994 to their legitimate owners,
are receiving a different treatment". However, Velázquez confirmed that
more evictions will be carried out. "This is not repression or anything
comparable. It is simply the application of the law in order to be able to
live peacefully".

Warming up now, yesterday he offered his mediation in the conflict of
ejido Emiliano Zapata (municipality of Tila), where the population demands
the dismantling of the military base located there. "The initial offer to
these discontent citizens is that they present their denunciation and we
guarantee that if any reason exists, the staff overstepping their
functions will be removed from that base", as quoted by the Tuxtla
Gutierrez newspaper La Voz del Sureste. (Thus, he gives "these citizens"
to understand, that some of the staff could "be removed", but not the base

These are some reference points to the civil employee (ex-PRIísta, like so
many in the Chiapas government) who dares to do what the Salazar
government says it doesn't. Violent evictions, mass detentions,
destruction of houses. And this man proclaims an "excelling respect" for
human rights. So much "respect", that the Human Rights Center Fray
Bartolome de las Casas documented yesterday a serious case of torture,
committed in San Cristóbal de las Casas by police elements of the State
Agency of Investigations, under the charge of the Office of State

While governor Pablo Salazar Mendiguchía nowadays seems to dedicate
himself more to the "foreign policy" of Chiapas (the circles of Tuxtla
Gutierrez talk mostly about his aspirations to the Fox cabinet), Secretary
Velázquez, State Attorney Mariano Herrán Salvatti and the Secretary of
Public Security, Horacio Schroeder, seem to have taken over domestic
affairs, consisting of evicting rural settlements and filling the jails
with campesinos for occupying land land or resisting, for example to the
tariffs of the Federal Commission of Electricity. In order to make place
for so many new prisoners, some have to be released, such as the members
of Peace and Justice who were acquitted 15 days ago; the manner in which
paramilitaries paying for the Acteal massacre will be released can be
predicted already, because now "they are persecuted for their religion",
according to their lawyers and allies.

Between anti-zapatist information campaigns ("if the press is going to
slam me, I´ll deny it and done.") and declarations, considering the rebels
a minor group inhabiting a few rancherías (how exaggerated president
Salinas with his "four municipalities" seems now), the Secretary of
Government prepares himself to collaborate with the federal Army and the
Navy in the next days, for the evictions he has planned. There must be be
several, since yesterday he confessed to the reporters: "I don't recall
them all. And I wouldn't tell you either".

(trans. Dana Aldea)


Solidarity needed!!! Send e-mails, faxes, letters and/or phone calls to
your local Mexican Embassy.

Mexican Embassies contact information:
Canada and U.S. - http://www.mexonline.com/consulate.htm
U.K. - http://www.mexicanconsulate.org.uk/
Australia - http://www.embassyofmexicoinaustralia.org/

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