(en) Hundreds Protest Chiapas Massacre

Shawn Ewald (shawn@wilshire.net)
Wed, 24 Dec 1997 00:00:49 -0700

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Hundreds Protest Chiapas Massacre by Lyn Gerry and Luis Pratt

Around midnight on the 23rd of December, 45 people were murdered by paramilitary death squads funded by the ruling PRI government in the village of Chanalho in the State of Chiapas, 12 miles North of San Cristobal De Las Casas. Over half of the victims were women in addition to 19 children, one of them a newborn. Nine men were also killed in this bloody massacre that lasted for more than four hours.

Some of the survivors of the massacre said that the killers were dressed in civilian clothes but didn't hesitate to identify them as PRI. Armed with AK-47 assault rifles, they fired point-blank on the defenseless population.

A demonstration was urgently organized in front of the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles at 6PM this evening and more than 200 people arrived to protest against these vile murders and to show their solidarity with the people of Chiapas - victims of such savage assaults but also courageous fighters for freedom.

Banners and posters denouncing this criminal slaughter were displayed. A folkloric dance group performed Aztec dances for two hours dressed in traditional Aztec garb. The PRI Government of President Zedillo has armed paramilitary death squads with the help of the United States as part of his strategy of low intensity warfare. Witnesses inn Chiaps report having seen weaponry being smuggled into Chiapas in Red Cross vehicles. A Zapatista supporter who spoke in the demonstration explained that the Government's opposition to the Zapatistas is the result of something more than the traditional racism against Mexico's indigenous population. Chiapas has the second largest untapped reserve of oil in the Americas.

President Zedllio, along with his North American Corporate collaborators, such as International Paper, are also planning to clear-cut the rainforest in Chiapas

The Zapatista struggle for land and liberty threatens the political and economic welfare of the multinational elites.

Speakers at the rally said "the U.S. government is no longer using the 7th Calvary against indigenous populations, it now uses global economic strategy, that is what this struggle is all about."

One speaker said "The indigenous people are asking for justice and to live in peace and in harmony with the earth, they are seeking democracy not just for themselves but for all Mexicans and all oppressed peoples throughout the world. They are fighting for us. The Zapatistas have fought with words, the Mexican Government has fought with guns, lies, murder, and rape."

Speakers exhorted the crowd to organize "It is not up to the EZLN. It is up to us in civil society to win this battle; it does not stop here with this vigil whatever we can do we should do."

At the demonstration, ballots were circulated in support of a boycott of Mexican products to pressure the Mexican Government to live up to the peace accords of San Cristobal De Las Casas. A delegation of Zapatistas is expected to visit the United States sometime early next year to ask for solidarity from the American people. __________________________ Radio4All: http://www.radio4all.org/ The A-Infos Radio Project: http://radio4all.web.net/

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