Confrontation in Mexico

mark_c (
Tue, 08 Oct 1996 09:46:19 +0000

Introduction: The rebel Zapatista (ELZN) army in southern Mexico
has announced its intention to attend meetings in Mexico city due
to start October 8th. They have appealed for Mexican and
international volunteers to form a cordon to protect the
EZLN delegation from arrest or assassination by the Mexican

Mark Connolly for the Irish Mexican Group

Village Idiot Column, by Jaime Aviles, La Jornada, October 5,

The Mexican Army has finished establishing military
reinforcements along the entire length of the highway from
San Cristobal to Las Margaritas, in order to prevent the exit
of the Zapatistas.

"A Major Deployment of Police and Military Forces in La
Realidad", Herman Bellinghausen, reporter, San Cristobal de
las Casas, Chiapas, La Jornada Oct. 5

An intensive deployment of police and soldiers was noted
today during the day on the road that leads to La Realidad.
It was a significant deployment of troops of the federal
Army, Judicial Federal Police, Public Security of the State, as
well as immigration agents of the office of the Secretary of

All vehicles were stopped, and identification was demanded
from all passengers. An exhaustive search of the vehicles
and the baggage, as well as of the backpacks of peasants was
carried out. Especially the indigenous were aggressively
searched, including their clothes, according to the reports by
the NGOs.

The operation included searches of the tires, the glove
compartments, the engine. The checkpoint was guarded by
tanks and artillery vehicles of the federal Army.

It is important to note that this is the road that will be
traveled the next few days by members of the procession that
will go to La Realidad to invite the Zapatista comandantes to
attend the National Indigenous Congress, that will be
conducted in the capital.

A vehicle of the International Red Cross that also went
through the roadblock received the same rigorous treatment.
Even an eyewitness reports that he heard a soldier indicate
to his subordinate, pointing to the Red Cross vehicle: Them
too, because they can be camouflaged"With this unusual
operation tension in the so-called zone of conflict has
increased considerably. It is the first time that an action of
this nature was carried out since the Law for Dialogue and
Reconciliation in Chiapas has been in effect. What is more,
in the judgment of some of the witnesses, an operation like
this was never before carried out in the zone.

"Harassment of Foreigners Reported in La Realidad", Elio
Henrequez, reporter , San Crist'bal de las Casas, Chiapas, La
Jornada, October 5 Foreigners from various countries who
have tried to enter the Lacandon jungle to accompany a
delegation of Zapatista leaders who will be traveling to
Mexico City have been harassed during the past few days by
immigration officials at the immigration checkpoint outside
of Las Margaritas, according to NGOs.

The immigration agents are "taking photographs,
videotaping and interrogating" foreigners who tried to enter
the jungle to deliver humanitarian aid and to accompany
the Zapatista leaders.They also have been given
appointments at the immigration offices in San Cristobal de
las Casas, and once there they are told to leave the country
within a certain period of time.

"Patrols intensified in the communities around Ocosingo",
Juan Balboa, reporter, Tuxtla Gutierrez, La Jornada October 6
In Ocosingo, one of the three municipalities in the so-called
conflict zone, there has been an increase in the number of
patrols through various communities, particularly in the
area around San Jose, a collective farm whose residents are
Zapatistas. The environment has grown tense, affirmed
officials at the city hall. Interviewed by phone, the
representatives of the city council in Ocosingo stated that the
possible trip by the Zapatistas to Mexico City has caused the
increase in military patrols in communities considered to be
sympathizers of the Zapatistas. One official in Las Margaritas
reported, "We do not know how large the [military]
mobilizations are, but we have seen new checkpoints".

IS THIS THE FINAL CRISIS? The EZLN and their trip to
Mexico City By Cecilia Rodriguez October 6, 1996

Many of us marveled at the way the rocky dirt path to
Oventic was transformed as the Mexican government
tightened its military grip on Zapatista communities. Like
cockroaches, huge muddy trucks filled with asphalt, gravel,
cement suddenly overran the muddy path. Like turtles,
bulldozers, asphalt spreaders and planers clambered over
the mounds of red earth. Suddenly a paved road emerged
from chaos.

The fact was however that long before the mechanical
cockroaches and turtles appeared, hundreds of indigenous
feet had traipsed back and forth in the darkness of
clandestinity. They quietly constructed a wall of defense
against a future of annihilation.

As civilians arrive from all over Mexico and the world, and
the storm of debate intensifies around the possible
departure of the Zapatistas from the jungle, the same
indigenous feet once again cut a new path. This time,
however, the path cuts through human history as well as
the green mountains of Chiapas.

The Zapatistas have turned the tables once again on a
dictatorship determined to maintain its grip on power at any
cost. In an inane attempt to keep the Zapatistas in Chiapas,
the government issues direct threats and strident
accusations and hands the limelight back to the Zapatistas.
What can the government do? If it uses force against
hundreds of unarmed civilians protecting a Zapatista
delegation, it will create an international scandal. If the
government unilaterally breaks off the dialogue by arresting
the Zapatista delegates, it willreveal its profound fear of their
political proposal, and elevate their already heroic status.

The government is now fenced in by the Zapatistas.
Meanwhile everyone has lost count of the number of
convoys, tanks and soldiers deployed to their villages. Five
or six security forces submit indigenous travelers to abusive
searches and foreigners fight the deportation of the
immigration services.

The Mexican government would have us believe that they
hold the upper hand because of their death machines. "Is
this the final crisis?" I was asked by someone as I left the
States for Chiapas. "I mean are the Zapatistas going to be
able to get out of this one?"

If "this one" is death, it has been their only companion for
500 years. Their ability to leave this political and military
juncture, however, has never depended solely on them.

It depends on us. Those of us outside the military blockade
have difficulty grasping the importance of our presence on
this path. We are overwhelmed by the power of
propaganda. We have somehow forgotten that no
government can rule without the consent of its people.

What is at stake in the struggle of the Zapatistas is an
alternative approach to the prolonged combat which has
wracked the Third World. It is a moral force which disables
all previous forms of power. It is the distant glimmer of an
alternative to this global system of exploitation.

The crisis will be final only if we fail to mobilize. Given
what is at stake, can we really afford to stand still?

    Find out about the Revolution in Mexico

This summer 4,000 people from 43 countries met "for Humanity and against neoliberalism" there